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May 14--  The Vidalia school board has approved the tentative budget for fiscal year 2019 for Vidalia City Schools.

At its May meeting, the board okayed a total budget of $36.6 million including general fund expenses of $23.5 million, about a half-million more than this year's budget.

School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox says an additional allocation of $248,000 from the state gave the school system some welcome relief from austerity cuts in the past few years,

"This is the first time in quite some time that we haven't had to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing cuts.  This is close to a balanced budget that we've had and we were able to add a few positions back," he said.

The new budget includes some new positions, "One was a new teaching position.  We're going to a block schedule next year at the high school and the numbers dictated a need for another history teacher.  We will for the first time have a nurse at each school.  We've historically operated with two teachers, but now we'll have four nurses, one at each school.  We were also able to get a little help with technology.  We deal with so much more technology today in schools that we have a real need to have somebody day-to-day to keep things up and running," Dr. Wilcox said.

The school system's property tax rate is capped at 15 mils and Dr. Wilcox says that is adequate, "I'm not so sure any community should endure more than a 15 mil millage rate.  Citizens here have always done their part to support the schools with property tax income and there's no threat of anything happening with the millage rate."

The projected fund balance at the end of the fiscal year is $3.7 million dollars.

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