BLANKENSHIP GIVEN ONE YEAR CONTRACT - Budget Approved For 2004-05, Finances Becoming Major Concern, Wayne Underwood Building Proposed


Superintendent Blankenship and Board President Rick Fitzwater review 2004-05 budget

Calhoun Superintendent of Schools Ron Blankenship was given a one year contract to continue in the position at last night's Board of Education meeting. He will keep the same salary of $81,000.

"I have wrestled with the issue of retirement," said Blankenship, "but if it is your desire I will stay one more year." He said he had no thoughts of asking for a pay increase, considering the county school budget is being cut.

The board unanimously agreed on his re-appointment.

Blankenship said he regretted rumors had spread in the community about a pay raise, indicating such a raise had never been considered or discussed.

The board approved the 2004-05 budget, which has been published and available for public comment.

Blankenship and board members discussed budget issues at considerable length, after administrator Connie Roberts said this year's budget is $385,000 less than last year.

The cuts have been made because fewer students are attending county schools. Funding is capitated by the state's school funding formula.

"There is now a real need for an excess levy to keep the system at the current level," said Blankenship, with some board members expressing reseverations about the public voting for such a levy.

He predicted some difficult times ahead.

Cuts will have to be made next year, and where to cut is a critical issue. One of the few places to cut is supplemental salaries, which would directly affect all sports programs. The system is mandated to provide courses of study at levels set by No Child Left Behind and other criteria.

"We have used our funds with tremendous effectiveness" said Roberts, "considering we do not have an excess levy."

The board listened to a presentation by Ox Johnson (left) for the construction of a new building at the athletic field to be known as the Wayne Underwood Hall of Fame and Museum. The multi-level building would be constructed beside the current press box, similar in construction, said Johnson. (Story To Follow).

The board gave the project their unamious support.

The board conducted other routine business. (Story To Follow)