NA schools’ budget stays on target

New Albany School District is on budget for the 2011-2012 school year, successfully adjusting to the state and federal budget cuts.


For the 2010-2011 school year, the millage rate for the school district is 46.92 mills, which generated $2,969,104. For the 2011-2012 budget, the school district is asking for the New Albany Board of Aldermen to accept the same proposed amounts.
Over the past two years, there have been reductions in staff. There are 14 fewer people on staff this school year than it has been for two years and these reductions are spread throughout different areas in the school, whether it be in maintenance, instruction, secretarial, and more.
New Albany School Superintendent Dr. Charles Garrett, said, “If there is a benefit to a tight budget, it is that we have to maintain our essentials, which include utilities, fuel, transportation, salaries, heating and air conditioning, and more. We are making sure that we are not running the heat or air too much during Christmas break. Turning off lights when leaving a room or turning off the computer at night help with us cutting costs also.”
“The emphasis is to consistently improve how we do our job on a daily basis,” said Garrett.
Suzanne Coffey, NASD business administrator, said, “Over the past three years, we have maintained a balanced budget and have requested the same amount of taxes.”
The money that taxpayers pay taxes on for the school district goes towards operational taxes and  district maintenance. A New Albany resident has to pay NASD taxes. However, if a citizen lives in the county, he or she has to pay taxes towards Union County School District. Nevertheless, if a citizen lives in Union County, but has a student that attends school with the NASD, they have to pay tuition fees per year because they are considered out-of-district students.
Tuition for out-of-district students is $250 per year for the first child in the family, $175 for the second child, and $125 for each additional child.
There are various repairs that do need to be done at some point in time at the schools and one of these repairs is the high school track. “The track does need repairs at the high school and we plan on making those repairs, but don’t know when. We haven’t had a track meet in two years,” said Garrett.
With grants like the John D. Bower grant and the Carol M. White grant, the schools have benefitted with money and equipment. In addition to money for new physical education equipment and other equipment, money from those grants also paid personnel salaries. Melanie Shannon, Lecia Stubblefield, and Tammie Reeder help write, find and manage grants for NASD.
Garrett mentioned that the school district would like to purchase two new school buses a year and he would prefer them to be seatbelt-ready and have air conditioning.
One budget change for this year is that department heads or grade-level chairpersons are getting  a $1,000 supplement to their salaries. Garrett said that this is in acknowledgment of the importance that these faculty members are putting on academics and developing their teaching level.
“Our goal is to develop as many teacher leaders as we can. When it comes to course and curriculum enhancements, the teachers will be integral in these decisions. Teachers will be able to help us go forward,” said Garrett.
At New Albany Elementary School, the grade-level chairpersons are: Cynthia Parks, kindergarten; Tameri Dunnam, first grade; Sabrina Hamilton, second grade;  Elke Lipsey, third grade; Teresa Ohler, fourth grade; Jennifer Ellett, fifth grade. At New Albany Middle School, the department chairpersons are: Melissa Tate, math; Elaine Watson, social studies; Tana Ranager, language; Enola Davis, science. At New Albany High School, the department chairpersons are: Kim Day, English; Robin Lindsey, social studies; Robert Garrett, math; Betty Short, science; Lee Ann Thompson, electives. At the New Albany High School Career and Technical Education, Kimberly Langley is the department head chairperson.