Fayette BoE OKs pay raises for all

Tue, 06/03/2008 - 4:00pm
By: Ben Nelms

School taxes may see increase to fund $197.13 million budget with 2.5% pay raises

The Fayette County Board of Education gave tentative approval Monday to the 2008-2009 budget that represents a 2.58 percent increase, or $4.97 million.

The budget includes $4 million in state-mandated teacher pay raises and large increases in fuel and food costs. The budget also assumes a 2.61 percent increase in the tax digest.

All this comes amid an economic slowdown that may likely result later this summer in a school tax millage rate increase of .754 mills unless conditions change.

Reviewing the tentative $197,132,660 budget, Comptroller Laura Brock said the $4.97 million increase over the current year comes with the required 2.5 percent teacher pay increase, or approximately $4 million, a $1.3 million state-imposed austerity cut, sharp increases in the cost of fuel and food, a reduction in all budget areas and no new initiatives or funding areas.

Brock said an example of the increases was in fuel costs, which were budgeted in 2007-2008 at approximately $700,000. Actual expenditures for fuel by the end of the budget year June 30 could hit $1 million, she said, adding that the upcoming budget has $1.2 million built in for fuel, a figure that might not be sufficient if prices at the pump continue to soar. The budget also includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for all school system employees.

Superintendent John DeCotis said the school system’s loss of 280 students, and the subsequent loss of funding due to the housing slump, was the first time such a loss of students had occurred since the 1960s. The school system customarily gains approximately 400 students per year, he said.

DeCotis also thanked Sen. Ronnie Chance and Rep. Matt Ramsey for helping get back $700,000 in state austerity cuts, adding that an additional $1.3 million in austerity cuts will likely remain.

DeCotis told board members at an earlier meeting that areas designated for cuts included the reduction of 34.5 positions by attrition, reducing overtime costs and the potential for reconfiguring bus routes. The repurposing of East Fayette Elementary will also amount to a $1 million savings, he said.

Cost-cutting measures relating to fuel consumption may result in giving schools an allotment for athletic trips. Academic trips will continue to pay their own way.

The 2008-2009 budget will be reviewed at the board’s June 16 meeting, with final approval expected June 23.

Next up this summer after the budget approval will be the millage rate, currently positioned at 18.596 mills. That rate may be set to increase if the board adopts the current tentative budget and if no other revenue sources emerge.

Possible revenue sources include the sale of school system-owned property, receiving wetland mitigation money for the Goza Road Complex, further personnel reductions or a positive change in the tax digest.

Without any increase in revenue the board would have to raise the rate by .754 mills to 19.35 to cover the $4.97 million increase included in the $197.133 million budget.

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Submitted by hsh87 on Sun, 06/15/2008 - 9:46pm.

It's good that employees will get a raise, especially with the economy now - but if the tax mills goes to 19.35 to cover this, Fayette will lose a lot more students - our taxes went up so much that our house payment went up $100/mo - when you get your home, you qualify for a certain amount and if your income doesn't go up with the taxes, you no longer qualify, therefore you have to move - Also, tax money is wasted in the pay area, there are workers "transportation" that live out of this county(they don't pay Fayette taxes, but Fayette taxes pay them)they are paid to work 4.5 hours but there are some that don't even come close(3 hours). Those who live in Fayette are at least contributing to their salary. That is wasted tax payer money. Someone should check into this one, there might be a savings here.

Submitted by sageadvice on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 6:52am.

I don't know what "tax mills" are, but I don't want any.
As to "the economy now," we always have some kind of economy!
Where and how will we lose "a lot more students, and why?"
I didn't qualify for "a certain amount" when I got my home? My income didn't go up and I no longer qualify! I don't know what for though.
But I'm not moving.
What or where is this pay area we waste tax money?
What is "there are workers transportation?" How do I get one of those 4.5 hour jobs that work not close to 3.0?
Why are those who live in Fayette wasting taxpayers money?
I'm are confussed!

Submitted by 30YearResident on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 11:48am.

Already go to the schools. and now they're going to take more.

Wonder if anyone in any government organization ever thought about "reducing expense" instead or raising taxes? I'm sure the answer is no, because that would be work... it's much easier to take the money from us when they need more... even though I thought we were already above the maximum allowed millage rate for school tax.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 5:36pm.

Only 58% graduated high school on time

I suspect Fayette county is much higher.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 7:49pm.

93% of Fayette students graduate on time. By the end of summer school 97% graduate. Eventually, 98.6% graduate.

Submitted by tc on Tue, 06/03/2008 - 10:07pm.

1. In regards to the students enrollment decreasing, there are several indicators which show that this has been a trend for the last several years. Why have these indicators been ignored?
2. In regards to high fuel costs, the district ignored the public's repeated pleas to build schools close to where students live. If you put schools in the middle of fields with a 1 to 5+ acre or higher zoning, you will have to pay to bus students to a rural area.
3. The district sold us a lie in 2004 when the community approved the bond for building more schools that were "needed." Clearly they were not needed or we would not now have several schools under capacity and the board scrambling (and in some cases not receiving federal funding because the schools don't meet minimum enrollment) to close East Fayette Elementary to save money while opening new schools. This is just neglectful and poor planning. Our community and students deserve better.

Submitted by buckstopshere on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 4:11pm.

If you look at what was passed, it is everyone but the teachers that will receive the 2.5% pay raise. It is the bus drivers, para pros and even the cafeteria workers that get the full raise. Once again it is the teachers that are in the trenches taking it in the shorts. I think it would be easy to look at the last 10 years and the salaries of the administration, DeCotis included, and see that the salaries up the chain have been growing at a disproportionate rate compared to the teachers. I find this interesting....anyone else want to weigh in on this one?

Submitted by kikenbutt on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 7:13pm.

the way it is! Always has been.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 7:52pm.

The article says that the state requires a 2.58% pay raise for teachers. The raise isn't required for anybody else, but everybody else gets it, not just the teachers.

Submitted by buckstopshere on Wed, 06/04/2008 - 9:19pm.

Teachers are only receiving the state portion of the pay raise not the full 2.5%. It just seems like they do so much and get so little recognition for their efforts. Teachers are in the trenches with the kids all day long they deserve more pay for the hours they keep and the amount of work they do. Cough it up DeCotis...forgo your rasie for the teachers.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 2:24pm.

I don't understand what you are saying. The article says the teachers are getting the raise from the state. I think FCBOE is giving the same raise the teachers get to the rest of the employees. How could the teachers not be getting the full amount?

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