A “bare-bones” budget proposed by Oak Ridge Schools on Tuesday does not, at this point, ask the City of Oak Ridge for more local funding.
The proposed budget includes step increases that would apply to those who are eligible, but it does not include pay raises. Roughly 59 percent of the staff would receive no increase, school officials said.
There are some new staff positions proposed, including a preschool teacher, a Navy Junior ROTC teacher, and a technology systems administrator. There are also some staff reductions due to enrollment, primarily two full-time equivalent teachers at Oak Ridge High School, reductions done through attrition.
“This is a pretty bare-bones budget,” Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers said Tuesday. It includes minimal new staff, and no major new initiatives. At this point, there is not enough money for raises, Borchers said.
The grand total of new investments has been proposed at $713,075: $355,201 for step increases and $357,784 for new staffing.
The budget would use $1.325 million from the district’s fund balance to balance the budget. The biggest part of that—$425,000—would be used for debt service. There would also be $250,000 for trustee commissions, $157,256 for textbooks, $127,500 for building improvements, and $103,000 for technology temporary help/software, among other expenses.
The proposed budget does include information on what it could cost to provide a salary adjustment, including salaries and benefits:
- 1 percent—$382,494
- 2 percent—$764,988
- 3 percent—$1,147,482
Oak Ridge Schools had 3 percent salary adjustments in Fiscal Year 2017 and Fiscal Year 2016, but no increases in FY 15 and FY 14.
Oak Ridge ranks 23rd out of 144 Tennessee school districts for its beginning teacher compensation, falling from 15th in FY 14, the budget proposal said. Oak Ridge currently has six more school days than the other state systems.
Oak Ridge ranks 12th out of 144 school systems in average administrator compensation, according to the budget presentation.
The Oak Ridge Board of Education could change the proposed budget. The board will meet for a budget development discussion at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, and the board will meet for a line-by-line budget review in a special BOE meeting at 5:30 p.m. May 15.
The public hearing of the budget in the first of two readings, or meetings, will be during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. May 17.
The second reading and adoption of the budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 22.
The budget will be presented to the Oak Ridge City Council during a special meeting at 7 p.m. May 30.
The next fiscal year starts July 1.
There was about $538,000 in additional one-time money included in the budget approved last year, with about $400,000 for digital devices. That extra funding was for non-recurring expenses, meaning education officials don’t expect it in their budget this year as part of the so-called “maintenance of effort,” a level of funding that can’t be reduced.
You can see the Fiscal Year 2018 budget presentation here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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