The Bibb School Board has to decide how to spend $236,572,323 in its budget to educate students throughout the county. Big ticket items include hiring new teachers. They want to hire 31 for classroom positions to reduce classes sizes. That will cost the district $1,783,058. They also want to hire 12 certified teachers for in school suspension rooms at the middle and high schools at a cost of $690,216.
“Were trying keep kids in the school instead of all of these out-of-school suspensions,” board member Lester Miller said. “If we're going to have them there at the school, we don’t want to put them in there with a person that’s not qualified for a babysitting service. We want to make sure they’re getting educated at the same time.”
He says it'll cost the district more money, but it’s worth the potential outcomes.
“By providing that certified staff, they're going to get the quality instruction, and maintain their classroom grades, and hopefully graduate,” Miller said.
Some schools are also getting some relief to help deal with medical issues. The district plans to hire a medical technician for each elementary school for $750,000. Currently, 10 nurses are shared between all district schools.
“We have secretaries, and we have clerks, but then they get pulled to do these other things provide the medicine,” Superintendent Curtis Jones said. “These people will be dedicated for that.”
The board also plans to adjust the salaries of other district employees like paraprofessionals, custodians, and clerks to get them on par with surrounding counties. To settle things up, it’ll cost the district $3,200,000.
Board Member Lester Miller says he has some reservations about approving those increases.
“I want to make sure that we're giving adequate compensation that are closer to the kids in our classroom to that support staff that’s going to be directly toward the classroom,” Miller said. “I don’t want there to be an appearance where we're adding all these administration salaries and increasing salaries where they're not needed. I want to make sure we can tie that directly to educating the children.”
The board will meet again on May 23 to work on the budget a final time. Two public hearings are scheduled for community input on June 6 and June 13. After those hearings, the board will adopt a final budget.