COLCORD – The school board here has approved almost $5 million as the district’s annual Estimate of Needs.

Superintendent J.D. Parkerson told the board he anticipates that this year’s budget will be down by about $500,000, but he believes the district will manage without having to cut personnel. “If we keep spending at the same level as last year, we should be all right.”

The Estimate of Needs now goes to the County Excise Board for final approval. From there, the district will use it as a working tool to finalize this year’s budget.

“The excise board sets our spending limit,” explained Parkerson.

In other school business, the board discussed the possibility of changing the way eighth grade graduation is held.

Middle School Principal Robert Hampton explained that his office has been hearing complaints from parents about the expense of holding the traditional “cap and gown” ceremony, so this year he had his secretary prepare and send home a survey for parents to complete. According to the results, there were 30 votes for changing the ceremony and eight against it.

Board member Opal Payne said she thinks that Principal Hampton needs to survey the students themselves before the board votes to change the policy; other members of the board agreed.

Finally, Superintendent Parkerson told the board that he will present new and revised school board policies for discussion and possible approval during October’s meeting. The public is invited to provide input regarding the revisions through the school’s website,

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 18, at 6:30 p.m.