The Oak Ridge Schools budget approved in the first of two readings, or meetings, on Wednesday does not request a property tax rate increase from the City of Oak Ridge.
There is also no request for an increase in the “maintenance of effort” funds, the amount of money that, once appropriated, has to continue to be funded year after year.
But school officials would like, if they are able to get it, an increase in capital improvement funds, money that could be used to fix and improve buildings but wouldn’t be recurring. No number has been attached to that request, but school officials would like the Oak Ridge City Council to consider it. During Wednesday’s meeting, the school board discussed ways to “get past conversation,” possibly with a collective effort, roundtable discussion, and comprehensive plan.
The proposed schools budget, which will be considered on second and final reading on Monday, includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for all staff, Oak Ridge School Superintendent Bruce Borchers said.
The Oak Ridge Board of Education considered the budget on first reading during a short special meeting on Wednesday.
The brief meeting included a discussion of the competition posed by nearby school districts and pictures of some school buildings that need repair, including to facades, paint, tiles, and heating and cooling systems.
“I think we can do better,” Borchers said. “I think we should do better.”
Capital funding would help, Borchers said.
The City of Oak Ridge provides about 26 percent of total school system revenues. State funds represent about 40.5 percent of revenues, county funds (property and sales taxes) are about 28.4 percent, and there are some federal revenues as well.
The 2.5 percent salary adjustment will cost about $1 million, according to the school system’s proposed budget.
Current enrollment projections estimate a net increase of 71 students across the district, the document said.
Some staffing changes have been proposed for fiscal year 2020, which starts July 1, including some position eliminations and some additions.
The proposed General Purpose School Fund budget totals about $59.2 million, an increase of roughly $2.5 million, or 4.4 percent, compared to the current fiscal year.
The overall budget includes the Federal Projects Fund, Central Cafeteria Fund, Extended School Program and Special Revenue Fund, and it totals $66 million. That’s an increase of about $2.5 million, or close to 4 percent, compared to fiscal year 2019.
You can see the Oak Ridge Schools proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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