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Oconee BOE gives tentative approval to new budget

The Oconee County School Board has given tentative approval to a school system budget for the fiscal year that begins in July. It’s a school funding and spending plan that is just shy of $115 million.3.2 million of those budget dollars are allocated for pay raises for Oconee County School District employees. School Board budget hearings are scheduled for May 22 and June 3, with budget adoption set for June 10 at the central office in Watkinsville.

From Steve Colquitt, Oconee Co Schools…

The Oconee County Board of Education gave tentative approval to the Fiscal Year 2025 budget of $114,890,755 at its regular session on Monday.

“The Board is pleased to endorse a preliminary budget that places our hard-working people at the forefront,” BOE Chair Kim Argo said. “This budget is financially responsible and it positions our district to continue to meet and surpass the standards for which our schools are known.”

Ninety percent of the budget is designated for salaries and benefits, with the remaining 10 percent allocated to daily operations.

Key portions of the tentative budget are:

• Four percent salary improvements for all staff ($3,297,000)

• Salary steps creation for years 22 through 30 ($2,187,705)

• Health insurance employer contribution increase ($2,232,170)

• Nineteen new positions ($1,077,328)

• New curriculum ($340,587)

• Teacher Retirement System employer contribution increase ($470,000)

• One-time custodians supplement ($47,367)

“Oconee County Schools’ sound financial planning is reflected in this budget,” Superintendent Jason Branch said. “The district is proud to acknowledge and value our world-class staff while maintaining award-winning fiscal responsibility.”

Budget hearings are scheduled for May 22 and June 3, both at 4 p.m., at the OCS Central Office, located at 34 School Street in Watkinsville. All county citizens are invited to attend. The Board is scheduled to give final approval to the proposed tentative budget at its June 10 meeting.

In other news on Monday, the Board:

• Recognized Pennie Eberhart of High Shoals Elementary as the May Pursuit of Excellence Award Winner for Support Personnel.

• Acknowledged 38 students and teachers from North Oconee and Oconee County high schools; Dove Creek Middle School; and Dove Creek, Oconee County, and Rocky Branch elementary schools for recent accomplishments.

• Approved the CTAE local plan and grants, the SWSS local board resolution, school nutrition FY25 bids, and five field trips for Oconee County and North Oconee high schools.

• Heard a presentation and viewed the monthly art display from Malcom Bridge Middle School.

• Heard presentations from Business Services and Operations.

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