The Glynn County Board of Education began preliminary discussions of its fiscal year 2020 budget at a work session Thursday.

The current budget plans include potential pay raises for teachers and other schools staff, based on suggested changes from the state’s new governor Brian Kemp.

“The increase in the QBE funds is an estimate that I made based on the statement that the governor wants to increase the state salary scale by $3,000,” said Andrea Preston, assistant superintendent of finances for Glynn County Schools. “So that would mean that every step at every level on the state salary schedule would increase by $3,000.”

That change could increase expenses for Glynn County Schools by more than $3.8 million, according to a summary of proposed budget changes. Kemp has also discussed a potential 2 percent raise for other school staff, Preston said, so she estimated that cost in the budget proposal as well. The added expenditure would be $550,200.

Other non-mandated additional expenses included certified and non-certified salary step increases and new positions that may be needed.

“We’re in the process of looking at staffing now for next year’s needs,” Preston said.

Preston does not know what the tax digest for fiscal year 2020 will be yet, and she typically budgets conservatively to anticipate any potential shortfalls.

The current budget proposal expects a 4 percent increase in the digest and a 97 percent collection rate.

The current estimated deficit in the budget is more than $4.4 million.

Legislation may also be in the works to support adding more counseling positions in high schools for social-emotional learning, said Virgil Cole, superintendent of Glynn County Schools.

The school system must also keep in mind, he said, that a lawsuit between the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission and Glynn County School Board is heading to the Georgia Supreme Court.

“We also have some other, potentially, litigation out there from the county that might impact us, so we’re trying to be very conservative in where we’re looking at this,” Cole said.

The school board also saw drawings of potential site plans for Altama Elementary School’s replacement.

The current plans include a one-way bus loop around the school, a parking lot with 150 spaces and more space for carpool operations before and after school.

“You’ll notice that there’s a lot of staging area for parent drop-off and automobile staging off of Altama (Avenue), which is very different than on the existing site now,” said John Tuten, architect for Glynn County Schools.

The board spent several minutes discussing the potential challenges of the current plan to have only one entrance off Altama Avenue into the school property.

The school system plans to accomplish the Altama Elementary work in three phases, said Al Boudreau, executive director of operations for Glynn County Schools. First, the site, located at 6045 Altama Avenue, will be cleared of trees. The second phase will consist of site work, including laying the building pad and doing utility work while the engineering plan is developed. The final phase will be construction of the school.

“We’re estimating now that that will be completed in March or April of 2021,” Boudreau said. “So that will be for a school opening of August 2021, beginning of the school year.”

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