The Board of Education wants to give teachers and other certified personnel a $3,000 pay raise and is asking the county commission for sufficient funding to help make it happen.
During a brief special called meeting Wednesday evening, the Board approved a proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year which includes pay raises for teachers and support staff.
If approved, the actual local increase for the 228 teachers would be $2,400 each since the state is funding a $600 raise per teacher. Non-certified staff would get a $1,500 pay raise, all funded by local dollars.
The county commission’s budget committee will get its first look at the proposed spending plan for schools when it meets Monday night, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the courthouse.
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said giving teachers a significant pay raise is needed and would help their retirement. “When you look at retirement and what is going to help the teachers long range, it’s their salary because their retirement is based on their high five years,” he said.
As for teacher concerns about rising out of pocket health care costs, Cripps added “We will try to cover the costs with the increase that the state sends. They (state) are looking at probably 3% (increase) so we’ll try to cover that within our budget so that the teachers won’t incur another increase on their insurance,” he said.
In addition to asking for pay raises for personnel, the Board of Education wants more money to purchase Chrome Books for the 3rd through 5th grades. Students from the 6th grade through high school already have Chrome Books. Extra funds would be included to repair and replace existing Chrome Books; to purchase new text books; and to implement a Dyslexia Program to help children at the elementary school grade level in reading. Due to the increasing demands of technology, the board wants to create a new full time computer tech position which would give the school system three techs. One new bus is usually purchased each year. The board wants to buy two new school buses this year.
The proposed new spending for schools in this budget comes to more than $1.7 million dollars over expenditures budgeted this past year. Unless cuts are made or more money is taken from the school system’s fund balance/reserves to balance the budget, a significant property tax hike might be needed to fund the school board’s request.
The overall county property tax rate is $1.8335 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
The rate is distributed as follows:
County General: 0.9635 cents
General Purpose Schools: 0.6100 cents
Debt Service: 0.1200 cents
Highways/Public Works: 0.0300 cents
General Capital Projects: 0.1100 cents
Revenue from the current property tax assessments for the 2018-19 fiscal year based upon estimated assessed valuations of $497 million dollars is $49,700 per one cent of the property tax rate. However the county is actually expected to receive $46,658 per cent of the tax rate based on a 94% collection rate or a 6% delinquency.