The proposed new school budget for next year calls for the elimination of several positions due to insufficient funds, but employees of the school system need not to worry, because federal stimulus money will be used to fund those positions. BEP reserves will also be used to help balance the school budget.
In an informal workshop session Monday night, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby met with all members of the school board to discuss the proposed budget for the 2009-2010 school year. The board must act on the tentative spending plan during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting because by law, the budget must be in the hands of the County Mayor by Friday, May 15th.
Willoughby says the new budget calls for no local property tax increase for schools. There will also be no local pay raises for employees next year, other than the regular step increases on the pay scale. Teachers and support staff will step up according to the existing salary scales. Willoughby says there has been no official word from the State of Tennessee regarding teacher salary increases for 2009-2010 and no additional dollars are currently in those line items of the new budget. There is a 1% increase in health insurance matching for all employees participating in the health insurance program.
Willoughby says while cuts have been made in many areas of the budget, there is a request for another $50,000 (going from $300,000 to $350,000) in capital outlay spending to help fund two portable classroom buildings to address overcrowding at the high school and possibly at DeKalb West School. Each portable contains two classrooms and a bathroom.
Total anticipated revenues for schools for 2009-2010 comes to $17-million, 079-thousand 422. Total expenditures were originally projected to be $17-million, 822-thousand, 740, a difference of $743,318. But the proposed expenditures have now been adjusted down to $17-million 565-thousand, 005, reducing the shortfall to $485,583.
Willoughy says eliminating the following positions from the general purpose school budget will reduce local spending by $257,735 but those jobs will be preserved by using federal stimulus money to fund them. However, when the federal stimulus expires in a couple of years, the school system will once again be faced with having to fund those positions.
The specific proposal is as follows:
Eliminate 2 positions (teachers) from Regular Instruction (budget line Item 71100-116)- $101,000
Eliminate 2 positions (teachers) from Special Education (71200-116)- $77,825
Eliminate 1 position (speech pathologist) from Special Education(71200-171)- $40,000
Eliminate 2 positions (educational assistants) from Special Education (71200-163)- $25,000
Eliminate 1 part/time position (job coach) from Special Education (71200-189)- $10,000
Reduce expenditures from Special Education (contracted services) (71200-399)- $14,760
Eliminate 1 position from Transportation (72710-189)- $7,650
Correction in anticipated expenditures( 72710-338)- $31,500
Again, by making these reductions in local spending, the difference in total expenditures over revenues is reduced from $743,318 to $485,583. Willoughby says this amount can be offset to balance the budget by making one time expenditures from BEP reserves.
The school board will meet to discuss the budget and several other issues Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. at the cafeteria of DeKalb County High School. WJLE plans LIVE coverage.