SIKESTON -- A pay increase for staff, higher bus fuel costs and a dip into reserves are among the highlights of the Sikeston R-6 School District's budget for the 2008-2009 school year.
On June 30 the district's board of education adopted the budget for the new fiscal year, which began July 1. The budget covers the basics, personnel, utilities, supplies, maintenance repairs and classroom equipment.
"The focus of the Board of Education and district administration again in FY09 is the educational success of the students," said Lori Boardman, R-6 director of business services.
On the expenditures side, personnel salaries and benefits for the FY09 budget are estimated at $24,943,210.
In the 2007-2008 school year, academic leader positions were added to the Fifth and Sixth Grade Center and the Seventh and Eighth Grade Center.
"These positions were added to provide academic support to certified staff and students, "Boardman said. "The new budget includes the addition of similar positions at the high school and elementary schools."
The budget includes funding the certified salary schedule, which provides a year-of-service pay increment to all certified staff, resulting in an average raise of 1.98 percent.
In addition to the year-of -service raise, all certified staff were given an additional across-the-board raise of 2 percent. All certified and support staff positions from the previous year were funded. Support staff received a year-of-service pay increase, and an across-the-board raise will be considered in January 2009 once cost-of-living adjustments to minimum wage have been announced by the state.
Operating costs for the district are estimated at $8,953,312. These costs include the purchase of classroom supplies and equipment, Boardman said.
No major renovations for any specific site in the district are planned for 2008-2009 school year; however, several small projects are planned at many sites for repairs and upgrades of the existing facilities, Boardman said. The most visible project planned is the addition of an outdoor sign on the high school campus, she said.
Bus fuel costs for FY09 are projected to equal $195,000 for the year -- a 20 percent increase from the previous school year, according to Boardman. Other costs for the transportation department included the purchase of two new school buses.
The district will pay $334,725 on debt payments generated by the bond issue passed in April 2005.
Revenues for the new fiscal year are estimated at $31,855,149. Revenues are based on the same tax levy used last year -- $3.44 of which 19 cents is used for debt payment. New monies for the year include $500,000 from state formula money, a $400,000 increase in Title I allocations and about $100,000 in eMINTS grant money.
Title I is a federal program that provides extra support for the reading and math curriculum, and eMINTS funds are primarily used for technology improvements at the middle grade levels.
Both the Title I allocation increase and the eMINTS grant money will be restricted in use by grant guidelines, Boardman said.
Areas of concern for the new fiscal year's revenues include, the estimated loss of $119,500 in sales tax revenue from the state, as well as, an estimated loss in earnings on investment funds of $200,000 due to the drop in interest rates on investments, Boardman said.
"The district will spend reserves in FY09 to cover all of the planned expenditures," said Boardman, adding the district's reserves are still good.
She noted the mission statement for Sikeston R-6 Schools is to provide a comprehensive, quality education to all students.
Boardman said: "A conscious decision was made by the board of education and district administration to spend reserves to provide the personnel and services needed to support the mission statement and maintain the focus of providing the personnel and programs needed to educate the students."