Education Closer look at 2018 county school budget | CullmanSense

Education

Closer look at 2018 county school budget

CULLMAN - The new Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) 2018 budget includes fun technological gadgetry, but also pushes for improvements in infrastructure and student achievement.

The largest expenditures, as usual, fall in the areas of salaries and benefits.  The expense listing follows:

    Salaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . $49,572,729 (52%)

    Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20,487,553 (22%)

    Purchase Services . . . . . $7,538,726 (7%)

    Materials/Supplies . . . . . $7,681,057 (7%)

    Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . $6,287,281 (6%)

    Debt Service . . . . . . . . . $3,903,183 (4%)

    Other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,806,203 (2%)

All budget expenditures total $99,269,239.58.  The total of revenues from all funding sources will reach $99,771,317.07.  Starting with a fund balance of $19,204,439.99, the final balance is expected to increase to $19,706,517.48.

According to Superintendent Shane Barnette, this year’s financial plan includes five points of emphasis:

  1. New iPad initiative for K-2 students through Seesaw, a tablet software collection that allows students to demonstrate learning through the creation of digital journals, and have their projects viewed by others outside the classroom.
  2. LEAD leadership program for high school juniors and seniors.  LEAD is “Leadership Education and Development,” a program that identifies high-performing students and cultivates them for careers in business, computer science, health science and engineering.
  3. Expansion of the CCBOE’s online virtual classroom course offerings.  Online learning offers an alternative to the traditional classroom, giving struggling students another route to graduation.  Barnette said, “We realize there’s more and more obstacles to graduating as the years go on, whether that be kids having to get jobs or families that are struggling financially.  We’re trying to create opportunities for people to make sure they can finish high school.”
  4. Discover Intensive Phonics.  According to the program’s developers, “It not only empowers students, it empowers teachers with proven strategies to help students improve reading, spelling, grammar, handwriting, listening, and thinking skills.”
  5. QZAB renovations and repairs.  According to its promotional materials, QZAB offers school districts with large low-income populations interest-free bonds to develop “energy efficiency and renewable energy, renovating and repairing buildings, investing in equipment and up-to-date technology, developing and improving curriculum (STEM, ELA etc.), and training quality teachers.”  Barnette hopes to use the loans to make repairs, saying, “I am really excited that we are getting to do some much-needed repairs on our facilities district-wide.”  

Barnette wants to make sure people understand that improvements in technology are not simple gimmickry.  He said he hopes that the improvements will translate to improved student experiences and performance.  Said Barnette, “We are also putting an emphasis on incorporating more technology into everyday instruction. While we are close to being one-to-one (ratio of computing devices to students), our focus remains on quality instruction using the technology and not just the technology.”

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