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School board budget tops $25 million

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle School Board approved a $25 million budget, clamped down on traffic movement between the stands and football field at J.P. Cain Stadium and chose a new contractor to conduct drug tests at Hartselle High School at a regular meeting Thursday night. Prior to the meeting, a state-mandated second and final public hearing was conducted on the proposed 2005-06 operating budget.
Approved unanimously on the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed was an operating budget for fiscal 2005-06 totaling $25.1 million, some $2 million more than the amount budgeted in the prior year. Projected expenditures total $24.9 million, leaving a balance of $159,241. It will become effective Oct. 1.
The budget includes a state-mandated 6 percent salary increase for teachers at a cost of $284,723. With fringe benefits and locally paid teacher units added, the total rises to $847,423. The additional cost of medical insurance alone is $1,020 per employee per year.
It also includes a $100 per unit per year increase for classroom supplies and a $65 per unit increase for library enhancement.
Funding from the state shows a projected increase of $804,585. All other funding sources also showed increases.
Capital projects are budgeted at $1.5 million. A reserve totaling $2.3 million is anticipated.
Football field
On a recommendation from the Hartselle Athletic Booster Club, the board voted to prohibit the movement of fans between the stands and playing field on both sides of the stadium.
Bob Young, athletic director, said the move was prompted out of a concern for the safety of all fans and to ensure that fans sitting in the bottom rows of the stands have a clear view of the playing field.
Board member Dr. Andy Dukes asked if the walkway at the bottom of the stands could be widened to facilitate traffic flow.
"It can be done," Young replied, "but it would be rather expensive."
Dukes also expressed concern about unattended children playing behind the home stands while the game is being played, and asked if anything can be done about that.
"The restroom entrances are back there," Young pointed out." It would not be possible to block them off."
"We feel the main issue is the crowding of fans on the track in front of the stands," Young stated. "This is temporary. We're asking to do it on a trial basis. If it doesn't work out we can always go back to the way it was before."
Drug screening
The board accepted a low bid of $29 per student from Safety First of Birmingham for drug screening.
Board member Jeff Gray asked for information about the company and questioned if the bid included testing for oxycontin.
Dr. Franklin Penn stated that the firm screened mostly junior college students until last year when it began testing high school students in a couple of Birmingham area. He added testing for oxycontin is not included in the bid price.
In other matters, the board voted as follows:
Personnel items approved are listed as follows: