After an hour presentation by the Rome City Schools superintendent the City Finance Committee accepted the 2020 fiscal year budget from the school system and is not expecting an increase in the millage rate based on the budget presented.
Superintendent Lou Byars explained the increased revenues and expenses the system will be seeing in the upcoming fiscal year. It includes raises for teachers which were a part of the state budget signed by Gov. Brian Kemp last week.
Revenues for RCS will be increasing by $4.5 million according to Byars, with $3.2 million coming from the state’s quality basic education formula. The system will also be receiving over half a million dollars in funding due to student growth. Byars mentioned most elementary schools in the system are at, or close to, full capacity with Rome Middle just over.
Because of the increase of students, the system is filling 16 instructional positions, six clerical positions, a special education coordinator and an additional psychologist. These new positions are incorporated into the $4.5 million expenditure increase the board is facing next year. This number includes raises, adding new personnel, keeping programs going and miscellaneous costs like legal and recruiting.
Byars opened the floor to the committee for questions and City Commissioner Wendy Davis asked if the current budget included future transportation costs.
“Once the air clears and we know what we are doing we can come back and do a budget amendment and show that,” Byars said.
The system is moving towards having a full fleet of new buses and bus drivers by Aug. 1, however if the state and federal agencies allow them to use the Rome Transit Department buses for another year then the current transportation budget will remain the same until the system is ready to fully rely on their own services.
Byars was also asked about the new Rome College and Career Academy timeline by Davis, and he said the goal is to be in that building by August of 2020. The CCA project is paid for by bonds issued by the Rome Building Authority and paid back using funds from the fifth education local option sales tax package.
The Rome City School budget will now make its way to the Rome City Commission meeting on Monday, where it will be presented to all nine commissioners. The budget will receive its second hearing at the June 11 board meeting.