BOE Budget Reality

I could be wrong but based on the last school board workshop discussions, sounds like there are some board members who are ready to throw the long awaited building program out the window. This after we've already spent around 2 million dollars on plans and drawings.

On tonight's (4/15) school board agenda is proposed a vote on the 2010-2011 operating budget. Depending on how that goes could determine if the building plan is scraped or not. One of the biggest issues facing the board is employee raises. I think every board member hopes to be able to provide some kind of pay increase but regardless of which raise package might get approved it will have a big impact on the budget.

A 3% across the board raise for all school employees would cost approximately $688,000.00. A 2% across the board raise for all school employees would cost approximately $459,000.00. A single step raise for teachers would cost about $203,000.00. As you can see, every option is costly. On top of that retirement cost increases are estimated to be around $270,000.00.

The board can give employee raises and cover other cost increases in one of two ways. Use the building fund money or cut waste and nonessentials. That's the only two options because it's not likely commission will raise taxes this year nor should they. School administrators have reported that 40% of county students qualify for free or reduced lunch. These are the same folks that will be hurt by a property tax increase as would many others. 

Our problem is, school administrators and some board members refuse to consider making any cuts to the $37 mil. plus budget. But, commission could could refuse to grant any increase which would force school administrators and board members to get serious with the budget.

So, there's a lot on the line not the least of which is the building program. Time will tell.