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School board gives OK to FY11 budget
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The Effingham County Board of Education approved the county’s proposed mill rate at 15.33 and a balanced budget for fiscal year 2011 at its meeting Thursday night.
The central office spent an entire year analyzing every area to realize savings and hedge against state and federal cuts, and the BoE approved the $81,187,988 expected revenue with expenditures estimated at $81,184,952. This is approximately a $5 million drop from the original FY10 budget. 
Superintendent Randy Shearouse explained to the board where the revenues have changed over the past two years and where state funds had decreased since the last meeting.
The board was thankful to maintain their local property millage rate, although property tax revenue was projected to decrease because of a lower tax digest. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which helped balance last year’s budget, was reduced nearly $3.5 million to $1,033,730. The system’s equalization grant, though higher than last year, came back $87,000 lower than expected at the beginning of the month.
Shearouse said they do not expect to receive all of the $26,410,294 in property taxes allotted for FY10, and that adjustments would likely be made with FY11 revenue to make up for that loss.
“This is the best estimate we can give at this moment. We feel like a lot of people have worked hard to put this together,” he said. “But I feel like we can move forward, and if things happen in the future, we’ll just have to come back and convene and adjust things at that time. Right now we feel confident this is the best budget that we can offer.”
Extra savings were found on the business side of expenditures in worker’s compensation insurance. Board members previously approved moving pre-kindergarten classes to their district elementary schools and embedding five furlough days in the 2010-11 school calendar. 
Shearouse expressed a sentiment of relief in the Effingham budget compared to the drastic measures taken by other systems.
“Many others are going many less days than 177, like our students will actually attend,” he said. “Programs such as music, art and technology, those things had to be cut out. So we’ve been fortunate in that we’ve not had to cut those things out in our current budget.”
Board members Vickie Decker and Eddie Tomberlin were not present at the meeting, but James Dasher, Lamar Allen and Troy Alford complimented the superintendent’s office for balancing the budget and saving money without depriving Effingham’s student’s of the quality educational experience they expect and deserve.
“We’re still a growing county, and being backed to the wall like we’ve done, again I commend you, (Mr, Shearouse), and all of your staff for an outstanding job,” Alford said.