Board members approved the $206 million budget unanimously at last week’s meeting. It will include the purchase of new buses, an increase in technology funds, an increase in resource funds and the possibility of new positions.
All of the school board members have been engaged in the process of understanding and writing the budget, said Chief Financial Officer Steve Barnette.
“It marked some closure to a long, thorough process,” he said.
Barnette has been working on the budget for about six months since he was employed by the district.
With the board not needing to use its reserves Barnette’s goal of sustaining the fund balance was achieved, and the district should add about $1.6 million to its savings. The reserve fund will have between $24 million and $25 million at the end of fiscal year 2013, he said.
The budget is a 3.4 percent increase from fiscal year 2013.
District 2 Board Member Nicholas Chester said in an email, “There are many positives in the budget.
“However, I am particularly proud of the fact that we were able to maintain key teaching positions and decrease furlough days. We have maintained the number of instruction days and still not have to tap into our reserve fund,” Chester stated.
Employees who had five furlough days last year will have three this coming school year; those with four will go down to two; and those who had two will have one. Furlough days currently range from two for transportation workers to five for administrators.
The budget also calls for a 50 percent increase in the technology budget and a 50 percent increase in the resources budget.
District 3 School Board Member Kim Cobb said she agrees with the increases.
“Our faculty and students need to have comparable access to the educational materials to be successful in the job market and their education,” she said in an email. “Many of today’s materials are not in book format that conform to the ever-changing standards, but with the help of technology I hope we can use the budget increase in both areas to supplement our students’ needs.”
Also there is a planned purchase of at least eight buses to help replace part of the current aging fleet.
The fiscal year started July 1. A millage rate will be voted on July 23.