School budget heading for final vote; raises, special ed teachers added




  • In Business
  • 2022-05-21 01:00:10Z
  • By The Oak Ridger
Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers talks to Oak Ridge Board of Education members after a meeting.
Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers talks to Oak Ridge Board of Education members after a meeting.  

After garnering one approval, the Oak Ridge Schools budget for this upcoming school year is heading toward a second and final vote.

This next vote will take place at the School Board's regular monthly meeting set for 6 p.m. Monday, May 23, in the Robert J. Smallridge School Administration building on New York Avenue.

Most of the proposed budget passed unanimously on first reading. A portion of the budget proposal involving a pay increase for substitute teachers passed separately from the main portion of the budget. Chairman Keyes Fillauer recused himself from that vote because he has worked as a substitute and School Board member Angi Agle did as well because her husband has worked as a substitute.

Under the new budget, pay for substitutes depends on "a variety of factors such as whether or not the sub has a teacher certification, years of experience, and whether they are a retired teacher from ORS," according to Holly Cross, Oak Ridge Schools supervisor of career readiness and communications.

The three remaining school board members - Benjamin Stephens, Laura McLean and Erin Webb - voted to approve this section of the budget proposal.

The Fiscal Year 2023 proposed General Purpose School Fund Budget in its current draft totals $64,771,205, which is an increase of $2,795,966 or 4.51% compared to this fiscal year.

The general fund is just one of several parts of the total budget. The overall budget including Federal Projects Fund, Central Cafeteria Fund, the Extended School Program and Special Revenue Fund, totals $78,108,181, which is a decrease of $4,071,610 or 4.95% compared to this fiscal year. The proposed budget can be viewed on the Oak Ridge Schools website.

Oak Ridge Schools staff added funding for a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teacher at Oak Ridge High School to the budget proposal last week following the initial presentation on Monday, May 16.

In addition to an across-the-board 4% pay raise, some employees would get an increase based on experience under next year's budget proposal. The budget offers no increase in rates over this school year for employee insurance benefits for vision, dental and life insurance. It includes a 3% health insurance increase over this fiscal year.

Funding will come from several sources. The state will provide 39.56%, the county governments, 31.08%; the city, 23.94%; the federal government, 0.16%; and other sources, 5.26%. The budget, as proposed, will not include any additional requests for funding from City Council other than what is already designated through a city funding formula.

Jenifer Van Dyke, Oak Ridge Schools financial director, said the school system can balance the budget using undesignated fund balance, the amount remaining in the current budget but not specified for any specific purpose, as well as by moving existing funds designated for other purposes.

Jenifer Van Dyke
Jenifer Van Dyke  

Special education

John Stults, supervisor of special education for Oak Ridge Schools, explained at the May 16 work session that the new budget includes two new special education positions. The change increases the budget for special education teachers from $2,330,096 in this current fiscal year 2022 to $2,526,654 in upcoming fiscal year 2023, leading to an increase of $196,558.

He explained these new people, who will work at Jefferson Middle School and ORHS, were necessary due to the growing number of special needs students at these schools.

If approved on second and final reading, the school budget proposal will be sent then to the Oak Ridge City Council.

Ben Pounds is a staff reporter for The Oak Ridger. Call him at (865) 441-2317, email him at bpounds@oakridger.com, and follow him on Twitter @Bpoundsjournal.

This article originally appeared on Oakridger: School Budget heading for second approval

COMMENTS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business