BCS discusses capital budget cuts

Published 6:32 pm Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beaufort County Schools continues to hash out its 2016-17 capital budget.

With the state budget now in place, and $990,639 allotted to the school district by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, BCS is now making adjustments.

According to the latest budget draft, $866,920 is allotted to cover safety and security costs, as well as system-wide technology costs. Dr. Don Phipps, BCS superintendent, said that would leave a spending balance of $123,719 left over from the commissioners’ allotment.

At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Phipps explained to the board the need to make some cuts in the safety and security portion of the budget, as cutting from the system-wide technology portion would create too many problems.

Most of the safety and security projects center around limiting places of visitor access to the schools, fencing projects and intercom systems, Phipps said.

The latest draft of the BCS budget allots $466,920 from the commissioners to safety and security, but a separate project for system-wide camera system updates would cost an added $900,000 over a period of three years. Phipps said this would be another project to possibly scale back.

Board member F. Mac Hodges said if there were any changes to be made regarding the commissioners’ money, he wanted to be up front about it. The Board of Commissioners allotted the amount with the understanding that it would be spent for safety and security purposes.

“I don’t want us to get caught in a crossfire with the commissioners,” Hodges said.

“We don’t want to change that $466(920) unless they know we change it,” board Chairman Terry Williams agreed.

Phipps said he wanted to present the list to the board for it to look over and be ready to discuss again in August.

“We felt like we had to have a working place for you to start from,” he said. “We need to go ahead and get a capital budget approved, so we can do some work.”

Board member Carolyn Walker asked if the numbers on the capital projects were set in stone, to which Stan Hudson, auxiliary services director, said the numbers did not allow for much wiggle room.

Phipps encouraged the board to prioritize the capital items on the list and determine which ones need to be addressed within the 2016-17 fiscal year.

“You all may feel very strongly about different projects,” he said. “This is not a comprehensive list.”