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      School system evaluates next year's budget, E-SPLOST funds

      Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree says he does not want furlough days in next year's budget / Sarah Bleau

      The Dougherty County School System gave an analysis of the usage of the last educational sales tax at today's Board of Education meeting as well as their options for next year's budget.

      With the recent passing of the education SPLOST renewal, the school system had the last education sales tax reviewed by an independent auditing company.

      "Yet again we've got a clean audit they said that we spent the money efficiently and economically," says Robert Lloyd, DCSS Executive Director of Finances and Business Operations.

      The presentation of the analysis at the Dougherty County School Board meeting showed that nearly 40 percent of those E-SPLOST funds were spent in the county through supply purchases and contractors. Approximately $3.4 million was spend with local businesses in Albany and Dougherty County.

      "That was brought out on the Dougherty High project where we spent 85 percent within a 35 mile radius of Albany," says Lloyd.

      While SPLOST funds are being taken into account for next year's budget planning, there is still a $9 million shortfall and a lot to evaluate; the school system says they want to avoid furlough days for next fiscal year.

      "Nothing is off the table, we're looking at everything. We've got suggestion of things we're looking at and we're trying to maximize income and reduce expenditures," says Lloyd.

      The Superintendent's Executive Cabinet made suggestions at the meeting such as increasing the cost of meals, virtual classes to attract home schooled students and a more centralized school bus hub. Transportation was one item in the past year's budget that officials says had overspending because of high gas prices as well as salaries.

      "We had a lot of sickness out there obviously we are then baring the cost that people that are out sick plus their replacements who come in and substitute for them," says Lloyd.

      Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree says they want to condense where they can all while remaining good stewards of the dollar bill.

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