Carroll County School Board members approved a working budget of about $34.7 million during a meeting Thursday night.

The district's Chief Financial Officer Jon Conrad said the budget for the 2013-2014 school year has more than $19.8 million in the General Fund and more than $8.7 million in a construction fund. The budget presentation also showed more than $3.5 million set aside for special revenue, more than $1.3 million for food services, more than $168,000 in capital outlay, $610,126 in the building fund and more than $656,000 in the debt service fund.

"It's a little bit higher than we've been seeing in the past," Conrad said of the budget.

The budget increase comes from the money set aside in the construction fund. The construction fund will pay for the middle school renovation project scheduled to begin later this year.

Carroll County Schools set aside money this year in the General Fund to purchase two new school buses during the school year, as well as construction costs for the tennis courts and lighting project at the high school. The district also plans to allocate $60,000 to the Apple iPad initiative in schools and $30,000 for high school athletics and $12,500 for middle school athletics.

Conrad said other General Fund items included $17,000 for arts and $11,000 for choir.

The budget also contains a 6 percent contingency, which is above the 2 percent contingency required by the state, Conrad said.

School board members unanimously passed the budget, 3-0. School board member Mary Ann Pearson was absent from the meeting.

Also during the meeting, Carroll County Head Start Coordinator Pam McNeal presented information about student achievement at the Carroll County Child Development Center.

McNeal outlined the five areas of school readiness for Kentucky, including general knowledge and mathematics, health and physical well-being, social and emotional development, language and communication development and approaches to learning.

"Our job, in our building, is to get children ready for kindergarten," McNeal said.

The school board watched a video highlighting several students learning with the Lindamood-Bell program and other educational opportunities at the school.

Students also use iPads and other technology to get a jump start on school readiness components.

"We are changing lives in that building," McNeal said.

Board chairwoman Mona Kindoll said the center provides several toddlers and pre-kindergarten students with technology opportunities several students may not have otherwise.

"I think we've got a top notch program there, and more people need to know it," she said.

In other business:

- The school district entered into a partnership with Kentucky Utilities.

The district plans to take students on tours of Kentucky Utilities' facilities for those interested in pursuing that type of career path. The board also hopes to find other partnership opportunities with the company throughout the school year.

- Superintendent Lisa James recognized Cartmell Elementary teacher Kayla Webster as a Champion for Kids for her work with the state's CIITS system. Webster took a lead with implementation of the system at her school. Chief Academic Officer Bill Hogan noted the program has taken a few years for the state to implement, but a team made up of teachers from each school helped to make the program fit the district's needs.

- Zach Dean, the district's network systems administrator, gave reports on the Carroll County Schools technology base. The district's technology department oversees the daily operations of 32 servers, 60 Ethernet data switches, nearly 3,000 Ethernet data ports and more than 4,700 devices on the network.

"We're using technology everywhere and it's here to stay," Dean said. "When it's not there, we notice very quickly."

Several programs help Dean and the rest of the technology team stay ahead of technology issues to let students have seamless access to the internet. If a component of the network goes down, Dean receives an email alert and text message about the outage.

"When something happens, we know about it very quickly," he said.