School chief: “We are in much better financial shape. . “

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

The Morgan County School Board started off the new year with a positive financial report at their monthly meeting on January 13. Superintendent of Morgan County schools Ralph Bennett expounded on the current financial status of the school system.

“We are in a much better financial situation than we were this time a year ago,” said Bennett. “Our local revenues are a little bit higher this time than a year ago.”

According to Bennett, last year’s local revenues were at about 40 percent and this year the local revenues are up to almost 51 percent.

“Our overall revenues for end of December are right where we would expect them to be,” assured Bennett. According to Bennett, the total expenditures are just below 50 percent.

“Our expenditures are at 48.5 percent, which is 10 percent below where they would expect our expenditures to be at this point of the year.”

The board approved several actions during the meeting. The board recommended the addition of a school resource officer to further ensure the safety of Morgan County Schools. “We can afford to do it now,” said Bennett.

“And the county is prepared to put up half of the funds necessary to hire on a school resource officer. It’s a safety measure, so our kids and teachers are kept safe,” said Bennett. Bennett said he would rather see trained law-enforcement officers as the ones armed to protect the schools rather than giving teachers and administrators the option to do it.

The board recommended to extend the facility use agreement with Hope Church of Madison for another six months.

The board also recommended to designate Harben, Hartley & Hawkings, LLP as board attorneys for 2014 and to designate Sarah Burbach as the 2014 Coordinator for Federal and State Special Education Grants and Sports Equity and Section 504.

The board also reelected Chairman Nelson Hale and Keith Howard, the vice chairman, to their positions for the 2014 year. Hale and Howard were unanimously reelected to their respective positions for 2014.

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