THOMASVILLE — Thomasville City Schools leaders will take a look at what kind of technology is in use currently — and what might be needed.
At Thursday morning’s budget hearing, school board members discussed what they have been told is a deficiency in books and in technology in some schools. But administrators said that might not be a problem.
Dr. Mary Williams-Scruggs said she keeps hearing students don’t have the appropriate books they need, and fellow board member Corey Sumner said he has heard the schools are lacking in technology.
Scott Elementary Principal Brian Beaty painted a different picture. He said that as a teacher he believed he had what he needed to teach with at both Thomasville High School and Scholars Academy.
“I’ve been here 18 years and Thomasville City Schools is technology-rich. We are supplies-rich,” he said.
Sumner asked if the principals could come to a board or school board committee meeting and tell board members what they technology they might need.
“If we think technology is important, and we want to ensure as a board that students have the right technology, I’d like to hear from the principals what they do have and what they need,” he said. “That’s something we can get behind. I want the kids to have technology. If we don’t have it, we need to do something about it.”
Sumner said Harper Elementary has put a tremendous amount of technology into its school.
“I don’t know how anybody could say we don’t have technology at Harper,” he said.
Beaty said the system is in good shape, compared to other districts, in terms of putting new technology into the classrooms. At his school, for instance, it is a 1 to 1 ratio in the upper grades between students and available Chromebooks.
“We use our money pretty wisely to buy technology we need for the kids,” he said. “I’ve never felt we didn’t have the books we need or the technology we need.”
Scholars Academy purchased Chromecarts using the Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia grant. Other schools also have plans to replace whiteboards with the new panels technology.
Schools chief financial officer Bo Rosser said he intends to put in place a plan next year for replacement of technology. The goal, he said, is to replace 20 percent every year, beginning with the fiscal year 2021 budget.
“We’ve got technology everywhere and before it breaks, we want to be replacing it,” he said.
The city schools system is looking at a projected $28.8 million budget, with $28.6 million in expected revenues. The $200,000 gap will be made up from the fund balance, which is estimated to go from $1.51 million to $1.31 million.
The system is expecting to receive $12.7 million in local taxes and $15.2 million in state funding for fiscal year 2020.
Expenditures for next year include a $3,000 raise for certified personnel and an increase to the Teacher Retirement System.
Another budget hearing will be held June 24 at 5 p.m. School board members have approved the tentative budget and formal budget adoption is expected to take place at the June 25 meeting.
Editor Pat Donahue can be reached at (229) 226-2400 ext. 1806.