Bonnie Coblentz (contact) July 13, 2011 11:24:00 AM
STARKVILLE — Starkville school officials approved the district’s $45.9 million budget Tuesday, but it was not without some haggling.
On Eddie Myles’ motion and Eric Heiselt’s second, the board voted unanimously to approve the budget. Board president Keith Coble was present, but Lee Brand was absent and Pickett Wilson recused herself from budget action because her sister is employed by the school district.
Heiselt initially refused to second the motion to adopt the budget. The budget has $44.3 million in expenditures and leaves a projected fund balance of 10 percent. The state Department of Education recommends a 7-percent fund balance, and the district has set an 8-percent goal for itself.
Heiselt’s chief complaint was the about $200,000 he said was being spent to hire new administrators.
“I don’t feel satisfied that the lead teacher issue has been resolved,” Heiselt said. “There is no evidence this will meet our goals.”
Two lead teachers are budgeted for Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary, and Heiselt also expressed some concerns about secretary positions, such as a second part-time athletic secretary.
When Heiselt raised his objection, interim superintendent Beth Sewell immediately offered to remove the lead teachers from the budget. When asked, she said these teachers, while they will not have classroom duties, will focus on curriculum issues, testing strategies and more to improve classroom performance.