school

The Tullahoma City Schools Board of Education is prepared to set its next budget with a raise for all its employees, according to discussion at its May 6 study session.

Director of Schools John Carver told the board on Monday he would recommend a budget that included a 1.5% step increase for employees, as well as a 2% increase to its overall salary schedule – a total expenditure of over $750,000.

According to Carver, the 1.5% step increase is designed to keep district pay competitive.

“The base is coming up so we can remain competitive to surrounding districts,” Carver said to the board.

Business Director Mike Roggli said the 1.5% step increase would amount to a $281,700 expenditure and includes all components for employees, such as salary, Social Security and retirement contributions.

That step increase would not apply to the 97 employees currently at the top of the district’s salary schedule.

Carver also recommended an across-the-board 2% raise to the entire salary schedule, so those currently maxed out on the salary schedule could enjoy a boost in their pay as well.

This raise would apply to all employees, both certified and non-certified, according to Roggli.

The 2% raise to the salary schedule would constitute a $470,555 expenditure for the district. Combined, the two increases total $752,255, according to Roggli.

Kim Uselton expressed concern about the figure, questioning if this total would put the board in the same position as last year, when it had to pull some reserve funds to cover expenditures.

Roggli assuaged most of her concerns, saying a majority of that $750,000-plus figure would potentially be covered by city, county and state funding.

Between appropriations from the city and the county, as well as Basic Education Programming (BEP) money, Roggli felt the district could conservatively expect around $450,000 to offset district costs.

Roggli said all three funding sources were seeing growth compared to last year, which meant the district could very likely see its burden reduced.

Roggli also emphasized the $450,000 figure was a conservative number, meaning the district could very likely get more than that to offset district expenditures.

“There’s at least $450,000 in new revenue coming from those three sources, conservatively,” he said. “It could be more.”

According to Roggli, he and Carver had discussions with city officials requesting the full $752,255 in funding from the city’s appropriations due to the expected growth of the city. If the city sees significant growth over the next year, Roggli said it could very well help make up the difference for the school district.

Roggli also said he could go back through the numbers with a fine-toothed comb and “tighten things up a little bit” in order to reduce the costs.

When Roggli asked the board if he should build his first draft budget with the assumption of the two increases, the board agreed that would be a good starting point.

The school board is expected to vote on its first draft budget at its May 20 meeting.

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.