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BOE approves tentative budget, including 1-percent bonuses

JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Education approved a tentative budget for fiscal year 2014, voting 5-2 Tuesday.

Board members Michael King and Charlton Bivins cast dissenting votes on Superintendent Luvenia Jackson’s recommendation to give all district employees a one-time, 1-percent bonus next year.

The board has been reviewing the superintendent’s budget recommendations since May 6, when Jackson gave members three options to consider. One option was to give employees recurring, annual 1-percent pay raises. Another was no bonuses or raises.

“I was the one who asked for more than one option,” said board member Jessie Goree of District 3. “The 1-percent bonus is not going to help our employees (much). But I would like to see our lowest paid get a 1-percent raise. I just think we need to do something for our employees.”

Business services director Lonita Collier said the board should expect to experience a deficit in any case. She anticipates spending will outpace projected revenues next year, which would require the board dip into its savings.

The budget is $352 million for general operations but the board will manage an FY14 budget totaling $532 million, which includes capital projects and federal programs.

Two public hearings on the budget are set for Monday at 11 a.m. and at 5:30 p.m. There will also be two teacher salary public hearings at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Participants are asked to sign up before the hearings. A sign-up sheet will be available 30 minutes prior at 1058 Fifth Ave. in Jonesboro.

The board plans to adopt a final budget at its June 24 work session. Members Judy Johnson and Mark Christmas were absent from Tuesday’s vote.