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Jackson County School Board adopts budget, hears concerns Featured

From left to right Vice Chairman Dr. Terry Nichols, Charlotte Gardner, Chairman Stacey Goodson, Chris Johnson, Tony Pumphrey and Superintendent Larry Moore. From left to right Vice Chairman Dr. Terry Nichols, Charlotte Gardner, Chairman Stacey Goodson, Chris Johnson, Tony Pumphrey and Superintendent Larry Moore. Shelia Mader | TIMES

The Jackson County School Board held a public hearing Monday afternoon at 5:01 for the purpose of adopting the budget for the upcoming year.  

The agenda was approved on a motion by Tony Pumphrey, with Dr. Terry Nichols’ seconding the motion and passed 5-0.  

The board initially heard from Gregory J. Bermes in reference to some concerns he had about the advertising of the budget being advertised in two separate newspapers on two different days.  He stated he had emailed his concerns to the school board, but had not received an answer until after 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon when he was in route to the meeting.  Bermes said, “The budget was advertised in two different newspapers on two different days, why is that?”  With no immediate answer, Bermes continued, “Nobody knows, nobody knows how much that cost the taxpayers?”  School board member Chris Johnson said, “I will answer that, we have newspapers that are one time a week, the Floridan used to be five days a week and now it prints twice a week.  We felt like that it was something we should do for the public to get the presentation out. And for the costs, I don’t think it’s that far out.”  Kathy Snead, Director said, “I do have the costs, I just received notification from the second paper as to how much it was.  Total costs for all of the advertising was $1,237.”  Shelia Mader, representative from the Jackson County Times advised the board the costs to run the ads in the TIMES was $450.  

The board could not come to a unanimous vote on the millage rates for the 2017-18 school year.  School board members Charlotte Gardner and Stacy Goodson expressed concern about taxing the citizens any more than they are already being taxed. Board chairman Stacy Goodson said, “I know personally I lost my father this year, my mother is in a convalescent center and I’m not up here poor mouthing, I’m just saying there are a lot of citizens out there that can’t take on any more, not even if it’s $25.”  Gardner expressed concern over the decision on Graceville Elementary being too hurriedly and requested the board to slow down and let the K-8 school get the ground broken and the school board to absorb where they are financially before anything concrete is promised on another school.  Board member Chris Johnson told everyone he sympathized with taxpayers because he himself was one.  Johnson gave the exampled that on a $100,000 TAXABLE piece of property, after exemptions, the increase would only be a tad over $25 a year.  Much discussion took place, with every board member and Superintendent Larry Moore giving input on the matter.  Motion was made by Dr. Nichols with a second by Tony Pumphrey and passed 3-2 with Gardner and Goodson being the Nay votes.  

The 2017-18 tentative budget passed unanimously with a motion by Chris Johnson and seconded by Dr. Nichols. 

The Jackson County School Board will hold its regularly scheduled workshop Thursday, August 10 at 4 p.m.  with the regular monthly meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 15 at 4 p.m. 

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