The Oak Ridge Board of Education passed the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 on second and final reading on Monday.
The budget includes 3 percent salary increases and a request for an additional $538,048 from the city, a 3.6 percent increase in municipal funding.
The schools budget was approved unanimously in the first of two readings on Wednesday. It passed unanimously again on Monday. The school board made no significant changes to the budget proposed by the school system.
The budget will now be considered as part of the annual budget deliberations by the Oak Ridge City Council. The city typically provides a little less than 30 percent of the school system’s funding. The schools also receive state and federal funding.
It’s not clear if the City Council will agree to provide the additional funding for the schools. School requests for more money are often met with at least some resistance from city officials. And this year, Oak Ridge municipal officials have expressed concern over the loss of revenue from the state’s Hall income tax, a tax on stock and dividend income that is being phased out.
The budget approved by the school board includes the reduction of the full-time equivalent of four teachers and an increase in five technology positions. It includes experience-based pay increases known as step increases for staff. And it includes money to fund a 6.2 percent increase in health insurance rates and another 10 percent for dental insurance.
The teacher reductions would be based on enrollment and student course selections. The cuts would affect the full-time equivalent of two current staff members. Two cuts would be by attrition, and the other two cuts would affect art and business teachers at Oak Ridge High School.
The increase in technology positions would support technology initiatives.
Besides the five technology positions, there would also be the addition of two full-time equivalent middle school assistant football coaching supplements.
The budget would use roughly $1.27 million from the fund balance.
To balance the budget, the school system has proposed:
- Fiscal year 2017 proposed budget deficit—(-$1,804,548)
- Use of district fund balance—(+$1,266,500)
- That leaves a total request to the Oak Ridge City Council of $538,048.
The Oak Ridge City Council is expected to have the first reading of its budget, which includes funding for the schools, on June 6 and the second reading on June 13.
Oak Ridge Board of Education Chair Keys Fillauer said this has been an unusual budget year.
“This process was as smooth as I can remember it in a long time,” Fillauer said. “This year has been the best since I’ve been on the board.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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