The Board of Education discussed adopting a $138.6 million preliminary budget at a special meeting Monday night, including a $129.7 million tax levy that would raise taxes by about $250.
As the budget is currently constituted, the average household would pay a 4.5 percent increase from last year.
The budget is still a work in progress. The Board will adopt the preliminary budget on Thursday, March 1. After that time, the district’s finance committee will meet and two public input sessions will be held to finalize details in order to reduce the budget below the state-mandated 2 percent increase cap. The final budget will be adopted at a special public budget hearing March 29.
Superintendent Ray Gonzalez spoke about the district’s proposed goals for the 2012-2013 school year that district officials will use a guide to help them formulate a budget.
- Improve student performance for all students through an intense focus on enhancing the teaching and instructional experience throughout the district.
- Improve communications among all members of the district, including parents, in order to share important information about the district in a way that is timely, meaningful, and responsive to the needs of the community.
- Effectively and efficiently use district resources to provide safe, healthy, and supportive environments that support educational initiatives and provide accountability for outcomes.
- Increase the use of technology for the purpose of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of achieving all other district goals.
Gonzalez discussed nearly $838,000 in proposed improvements, including elevating the guidance counselors at the elementary schools to full-time employees at a cost of $252,000, $34,000 for the fifth-grade social studies curriculum, and $25,000 for a new presentation system in the Wayne Hills High School auditorium.
More than $1.5 million in reductions, including $682,000 in anticipate breakage from staff retirements, and four paraprofessionals at a cost of $90,000, was mentioned. Breakage is the amount saved when veteran teachers retire from a district and new ones, who are paid less in salary, are hired to replace them.
The district is expected to receive $3.8 million in state aid for the upcoming school year, a 32 percent increase from last year’s amount of nearly $2.9 million.
The two public hearings on the budget will take place in March: one will be March 6 at Wayne Valley High School, the second will be March 20 at Wayne Hills High School; both meetings start at 7 p.m. Officials will take questions from the public at those meetings.