The Athens Board of Education approved fiscal 2014 budget amendments totaling $177,000 during Thursday night’s meeting.
The money for the amendments will be moved from the school system’s reserve fund, which is currently the equivalent of 2.7 months of operating funds. The total represents 3 percent of the reserve.
The budget changes — proposed by teachers, principals and staff — were included to meet board goals for the 2014-15 school year and not initially part of the current year’s budget.
However, the items are considered necessary for purchase during this fiscal year in preparation for the upcoming school year, according to school officials.
Fine arts funding
The amendment includes $31,000 for fine arts at Athens Intermediate, Brookhill Elementary School, Cowart Elementary School, Athens Middle School, Athens Intermediate School and Athens High School. Such items include instruments, equipment lockers, pottery equipment, tables, photography equipment and more.
Superintendent Trey Holladay said in his proposal that the school system has invested heavily into personnel for maintaining a K-12 music, art, vocal and performing arts program.
The system has depended on the PTO and donated money in the past for maintaining and purchasing equipment and this will be the first year the system will be asking for a yearly line item for the arts program.
Stack lane upgrade
Student safety is also part of the amendment with the board approving $19,000 in order to double the width of the Athens Intermediate campus stack lane as well as grade, install base, pave and stripe the lane.
Holladay said there are serious traffic backup problems on U.S. 72, and in order to move traffic off the highway and decrease bus and car interaction at the south end of AIS, the stack lane will provide twice as many cars to pull on to campus. The board is teaming up with the city of Athens for services in order to keep costs low and not have to bid the project.