Tifton Gazette

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January 25, 2014

State corrects error – $83,027 headed to Tift Co. schools

TIFTON — The House Education Appropriations subcommittee reviewed and passed the FY14 midterm amended budget Thursday, according to the Georgia Association of Educators’ Government Relations team.

Tift County and two other school systems that need state financial help were the only items with discussion:

• Tift County, $83,027 — correction in FTE (full-time equivalent) counts

• Provost Academy, $924,329 — correction in FTE counts; increase funds for extended day/year — $158,319

• Troup County, $1.7 million — correction in the tax digest midterm adjust to special needs scholarships ($999,036)

• Ware County, $891,881 — correction in millage rate

When asked about the money coming back to Tift County, Superintendent Patrick Atwater said, “This amount of money is based on the number of students we served last year. Because of a switch from one software system to a new one, the number of students served was miscalculated. The money was already budgeted, so we are pleased that the state recognized and corrected the error.

“We are very thankful to our local delegation for getting the calculation corrected. While every dollar we get helps, we are still struggling to find ways to make ends meet for the upcoming year. Even with this correction, we are facing approximately $5.3 million in cuts to the current year QBE funding model from the state.”

According to the chair of the subcommittee, Rep. Tom Dixon, the three districts received a one-time reprieve, and local systems cannot look to the state to fix financial errors made at the local level.

The FY14 revised budget was recommended for passage and increases state spending by about $320 million from $19.9 billion to $20.2 billion. This is the fastest budget passage in recent history. Rep. England attributed the smooth passage to the work done with the Office of the Governor and the House Budget Office and recognized key legislators for their work.

According to GAE, $183 million (58 percent) will be allocated to local school systems around the state to fund K-12 student enrollment growth.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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