2 Million More

As a member of the school board, I'm almost embarrassed to report on this issue. Unfortunately facts are facts.

Last week I told you that the school board budget committee has already begun the process of preparing the 2010-2011school board operating budget. So far much of the work has been gathering information on the past budget and comparing expenditures and revenues.

School director Wayne Honeycutt and finance manager Alysa Phipps have presented a proposed budget for next year that would require around 2 million more dollars in operating costs. The proposed budget would include double step raises for all teachers, 2.5% raises for noncertified employees and nearly $200,000.00 in raises for administrators. According to Ms. Phipps, the increase would also include increases for utilities and around $470,000.00 for increased retirement costs. There is also $13,000.00 in there for school board members to attend a state conference. Budget documents also show that 7 new positions would be created.

The logic behind the double step raises for teacher raises was since teachers received no raises this year, they were due a double step next year. The raises recommended for central office administrators were $1,871.00, $9,622.00, $12,560.00, $1,560.00, $1,696.00, $14,286.00 and $7,951.00 depending on years of service and degrees. The raises recommended for the 9 principals ranged from $1,605.00 to $12,242.00 depending on years of service, degrees and number of students in their school. The recommended raises for the 10 assistant principals range from $6,018.00 to $8,131.00 depending on years of service and degrees. The recommended budget included no proposed cuts or reductions.

Obviously those who made this first budget proposal have got to know that there is no way the board can afford a two million dollar increase in the budget especially with no cuts or reductions. A two million dollar increase would require a seven-teen cent property tax increase to fund the increase alone.

Last year, almost no school employees received any pay increases. This year the school board must provide raises for our teachers and other deserving employees. This can only be accomplished by the board making some hard decisions and setting real priorities.  

Let me be very clear, this is only one budget proposal. I'm sure before the board ever actually adopts a new budget, there will be many more proposals hopefully that are more realistic than this one. I'll keep you posted.