Columbia County school system human resources officials delivered an 86-page report detailing a general services salary study to the school board in a Tuesday meeting.
A committee of school officials and labor professionals compared the school system's salaries for general service employees, which includes occupations such as custodians and bus drivers, with other similar systems and industries.
The current cost in salaries for general fund employees is $8.8 million, according to the report.
The committee recommended adding $474,195 to next year's school budget to give salary increases for many workers.
"We would love to give everyone an increase ... but we have to be fair and equitable," said Connie Davis, the human resources director for the system.
The study began in October and examined 85 different job titles within the system.
Davis said her committee averaged the lowest and highest hourly rates of comparable school systems and other companies employing the same type of personnel.
Columbia County schools Superintendent Tommy Price noted that the system is competitive with salaries for general services. He specifically pointed out bus drivers.
"We pay our bus drivers better than most people around," he said. "Better than most in the state."
Also in the meeting, the board gave Price a satisfactory evaluation.
In other budget news, Price said a 10 percent growth rate in Columbia County's tax digest might mean an extra $1 million in revenue for the system.
In earlier budget meetings, school officials presented the board a preliminary budget based on an 8 percent tax digest growth.
In all, the system expects to receive about $149.2 million in revenue, but its predicted expenditures for the 2006-07 fiscal year is $151.1 million.
The board will discuss the salary study and budget further at a special called meeting June 6.
In a special session before the board's regular meeting, school officials evaluated Price's performance and said he had done a good job in the past school year.
"It pleases us to tell you that you got a satisfactory evaluation,'' School Board Chairman Wayne Bridges said to Price. "Congratulations and good job.''
Unlike in Richmond County, where some school board members revealed outside a regular meeting that Superintendent Charles Larke received an unsatisfactory evaluation, Columbia County board members revealed the results of their assessment of Price's performance in an open session.
However, discussions with Price on the details of the evaluation will likely be conducted behind closed doors, Price said.
Under Georgia law, superintendent evaluations are considered a personnel issue, and details of the evaluations can be withheld from the public.
"We'll discuss strengths and some areas we can improve on," he said.
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