School board approves $36.2M budget

Published 4:15 pm Friday, June 22, 2012

The Decatur County Board of Education officially approved the 2013 fiscal year budget at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday night with a 5-0 vote. Board member Clarissa Kendrick was not in attendance at the meeting.

The final budget estimates revenues to be $36.44 million, with operating expenses of $36.23 million. The system will have an estimated fund balance of slightly more than $3 million at the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

The budget includes a millage rate increase of three mills. As mandated by state law, three public hearings relative to the increase of millage rate were set for 8 a.m. on July 19, 8 a.m. on July 26 and 6 p.m. on July 26.

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A summary of the budget is available at

In other business, Dr. Fred Rayfield, system superintendent, informed the board that the United States Department of Justice has granted “Complete Unitary Status” to the system. Since the early 1970s, the system has been under court order and review from the Civil Rights division, relative to de-segregation of the system.

The board also entered into an intergovernmental agreement with several surrounding government agencies to purchase new “narrow band” communications equipment. Because of the shared 911 system between Decatur County and Grady County, the four other agencies included in the partnership are Decatur County, City of Bainbridge, City of Cairo, and Grady County.

Changes in Federal Communication Commission requirements forced the upgrade of the current communications equipment from an analog system to a digital system. The deadline to make these changes is Dec. 31, 2012.

The total cost of the upgrades, shared among the five partners, is $3.57 million. The school system’s portion of that total is $324,971, an expense that will be paid from E-SPLOST funds.

“This is not one of those situations where we have a choice,” Rayfield said. “If we don’t upgrade our communications equipment, we have placed ourselves on an island and we will not be able to communicate in emergency situations with the folks that we have key relationships with, like public safety, the sheriff’s office, and 911 dispatch.”

Among the approved personnel recommendations made during the meeting are the retirement of Estella Bryant as principal of Elcan-King Elementary School and the appointment of Crycynthia Gardner as assistant principal at Hutto Middle School.

The board also approved the 2012-2013 school calendar. The full calendar, including all holidays and furlough days, is available at

2012-2013 School Calendar for Decatur County Schools

Decatur County Schools 2012-2013 Fiscal Year Budget