More money for security, books in School Board budget

Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 8:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 8:28 p.m.

Alachua County Schools' tentative budget for the 2013-2014 school year is about $9 million more than last year's, and it includes increased funding for school security and state-mandated items.

An itemized tentative budget, approved by the Alachua County School Board at a special meeting Tuesday, encompassed the voter-approved one-mill property tax increase, which will generate about $12 million for the continuation of art, music, guidance, magnet and library programs, and school nurses.

The state also allocated increases for specific purposes.

Alachua County schools will receive about $43,000 more for instructional materials like textbooks and workbooks, about $23,000 more for student transportation and about $139,000 more to use toward reducing class sizes.

According to the tentative budget, each public school that received an A on the A-to-F school grading scale during 2012-2013 will receive $100 per student, totaling about $1.5 million.

All full-time teachers in the district will receive about $265 to buy classroom supplies.

Before January 2013, school resource officers from Gainesville Police Department and Alachua County Sheriff's Office were placed in each middle and high school in the district.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December, the school board approved placing officers in the elementary schools as well.

The cost of putting school resource officers in elementary schools came to about $315,000, said Alachua County Schools spokeswoman Jackie Johnson.

Over the summer, the district invested in software that checks government-issued IDs through a database of sex offenders, which every visitor to a public school will be subject to each time they visit.

Video cameras were also installed at the front entrance of every public school, at a total cost of $67,000, Johnson said.

A final budget will not be approved until after the beginning of the school year.

"I want to make sure our budget is balanced without using reserves," board member Gunnar Paulson said.

Scott Ward, assistant superintendent for planning, budget and systems accountability, said his office is still evaluating the reserve projects from last year.

Ward said he will have information about this year's reserves to the board by the end of the week.

Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or

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