Assistant Superintendent of Business Victoria Galante outlined plans for the program component of the proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year at a Board of Education meeting on Feb. 27. This component is the largest part of the budget, making up about $74.8 million of the approximately $90 million the district plans on spending during the 2019-20 school year.
The two largest facets of the program component in terms of spending deal with a majority of the district’s teachers. The district is set to spend approximately $26.6 million on the salaries of regular school teachers, with an additional $14.7 million going to special education teachers. While the portion of the budget for the latter set of teachers saw a relatively slight increase of about $23,000, regular school teacher salaries will increase by over $1.3 million.
However, Galante explained that this is not due to any radical increase in regular school teachers or salaries. Instead, it is due to a change in how the district is mandated to report on salaries. Contrary to how it was done in the past, the district must now submit reports based on individual buildings as opposed to by department. Galante grouped certain types of teachers’ salaries in with the regular school teachers for the 2019-20 school year, such as occupational education teachers, in response.
“A lot of our teachers in our occupational education programs are in our middle school,” Galante said, “so their salaries have been moved over to the [regular school teacher salary] line.”
This explained the nearly $400,000 decrease from 2018-19 shown during her presentation for occupational education teachers. Galante issued the same explanation for significant salary decreases in other departments throughout her presentation, such as library staff and computer assisted instruction, emphasizing that they did not come as a result of losing staff.
As a whole, the district proposes to spend just over $1 million more on the 2019-20 program component than they did this school year, which saw a program component of approximately $73.7 million. Galante explained that this is heavily due to the increase in teacher salaries, something which occurs nearly every year.
“An increase, yes, but not that much of an increase considering this is our biggest component of the budget,” Galante said.
The Board of Education will convene next on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Finley Middle School. The board will discuss the tax levy limit for 2019-20, capital outlay projects, the capital reserve, an update on the revenue budget and ways to eliminate the gap between revenue and expenses.