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Saturday July 4th, 2015 8:15PM

Hall B.O.E. passes 'tough times' budget

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - The Hall County School Board adopted a smaller budget with a smaller millage rate for 2013 during Monday night's regular meeting.

Superintendent Will Schofield said he can work with the revenue from the 2013 budget and tax payers won't be paying a full tax roll-up at 18.49 mills.

"It's a partial rollup," Schofield said. "It's exactly what we predicted all along; the rollup rate is about half the allowable amount at 18.49. The budget is $191-million, you could argue its actually $187-million, but it's significantly less this year as compared to what it was last year."

Schofield said he'll do what it takes to run the school system on the budget the Board passed unanimously with no comment.
Board chairman Nath Morris said with cost increases and state austerity cuts money per student is very low.

"It wasn't easy," Morris remarked. "With the insurance premiums on classified employees going up to the tune of about $2-million and the continued austerity cuts it has been tough. We're down as far as expenditures per student in areas we haven't been in a long time. We have challenged our superintendent to continue to support the kids and offer the programs we've been offering."

INSURANCE DISPUTE GETS HELP

Superintendent Will Schofield over the weekend helped resolve the contract dispute between Northeast Georgia Health System and United Health Care Insurance Company. According to Chairman Morris, Schofield invited both sides to sit down and work things out over the weekend in the school board meeting room.

"We had a lot of nervous employees on whether they were going to get health care in their home city with their doctors," Morris said. "They were concerned and the Superintendent pulled the parties together and said let's get this resolved."

Negotiations failed to produce a new contract and that threatened to impact 3,000 school system employees.

In a joint statement released Saturday, the hospital and the insurance company announced they reached a long-term, multi-year agreement giving all employer-sponsored and individual health plans in-network access to all hospital facilities and doctors.
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