SIKESTON - There are few who won't benefit from the Sikeston Public Schools' budget for 2001-2002.
Employees will see a minimum salary increase of 2 percent, students will gain from programs designed to help those lagging behind and parents can feel assured their children are receiving the best possible education.
The budget will also help the district achieve its goals which are to improve reading and math skills at all age levels and actively promote attendance rates at 96 percent or higher. Sikeston Schools will continue to strive for a drop-out rate less than 3 percent.
What it all boils down to, said Superintendent of Schools Steve Borgsmiller, is a budget which represents the resources and expenditures necessary for the Scott County R-6 District to continue the process of educating children and putting the vision into practice.
In his budget message Borgsmiller pointed out the Certified Salary Compliance base percentage is estimated at 71 percent, noting that Sikeston Schools will be in compliance with all three types of compliance calculations.
This assures that the district is spending the proper amount of its budget for teachers' salaries when compared to the expenditures.
"We have been able to accomplish this by providing a 2 percent increase to the district's salary schedule as well as an additional $121,000 in incremental costs," he said. "This represents an average percentage increase of 3.8 percent for certificated employees. In addition, we will again pay 100 percent of the Career Ladder expenditures this next fiscal year."
The budget assures that Sikeston Schools continue the 20/1 teacher student ratio at the kindergarten and first grade levels with five, first grade classrooms at an 18/1 ratio, which Borgsmiller pointed out reflects the federal teacher ratio reduction program.
There is an increase in those participating in the group health insurance program of which the district now pays 80 percent of the qualified employee's cost.
Expenditures for general operations and maintenance totaling $915,000 include the purchase of two 78-passenger buses at $111,480, continuation of maintenance schedules, roof and tile replacement at Southwest Elementary and painting at the kindergarten.
Sikeston Schools' budget means every item must be justified. As a result, duplication is eliminated.
"Basically it exerts greater control over spending by requiring a justification for every proposed expenditure, beginning theoretically from a base of zero. Included in the budget are district wide summaries and totals by objects of each division, program by program," Borgsmiller explained in his budget message. "Each division's budget shows staff members, program categories, supplies, textbooks and materials by unit. There is, in other words, no cushion in this kind of budget. Every cent is allocated for a specific purpose in a specific school."
Assessed valuation for the 2001-2002 school year is estimated at $179,131,416 for budget purposes. The tax levy is set at $3.25 which will generate an estimated $5,705,000 in local taxes.
The debt service fund utilizes 32 1/2 cents of the total levy to generate an estimated $623,556 in current taxes to return to the district's general obligation bonds used to fund building improvements.
The district has $2,180,000 in bond debt which is expected to be paid by March 2004.
Sikeston Public schools' anticipated ending balance in June was $6,040,307 compared to $6,017,012 the previous year.
"Our budgeting process involves individuals on all levels working from the building level upward to the central office," said Borgsmiller. "Throughout the process, resources are allocated to provide the best possible usage to address an unending list of requests. As a tax supported institution, we will never have the resources available to address all requests, but we feel confident that every effort is made to meet the most important needs of the teachers, students and district.
"We know that our budgeting process works as we continue to see our students performing very well. We have a strong curriculum in place with innovative teaching, technological support and dedicated administrators and teachers who are making a difference in the lives of the children and adults we serve."