The Calhoun County Board of Education approved its largest budget ever Tuesday night.
It projects about a $4.5 million deficit, due in large part to construction of a new White Plains Middle School, but some board members cautioned against overspending in the future.
A long-range capital plan the county schools filed with the state last year estimated the new school to cost between $6 million and $8 million.
But estimates from architect David Christian this summer put the cost closer to $12 million.
"If the estimates had stayed there, we would not have a deficit budget," said board member Mike Almaroad.
"We've got to do a better job of holding their feet to the fire (when hearing estimates) and hope somebody has done the legwork to make sure it comes out like that. We've been led down a road I hope doesn't happen again."
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