The superintendent’s proposed FY 2016 operating budget contains reasons for optimism. The proposal for the 2015-16 school year includes a 2 percent salary increase for all employees, the continued reduction of class sizes and the restoration of some tuition assistance.
The proposed budget can also be characterized by what it does not contain: funding for new initiatives.
When Carrie Coyner, the new School Board chair, described her priorities at the first meeting of the year, she said that this is the time to fine-tune our work. My leadership team and I agree. Therefore, our efforts will focus on providing support for initiatives put in place during the past three years (initiatives such as project-based learning, Chromebooks and digital curriculum, which began previously or were scheduled to expand, are not new and will continue).
The proposed FY 2016 operating budget is $11.2 million more than our current budget. The majority of this increase — nearly $8.9 million — is proposed to go toward salaries and benefits. Specifically, the budget
If the proposed budget is approved, we will have restored much of what was cut in FY 2009, bringing back to FY 2008 levels the investments we are making in our children and our future.
We have persevered through difficult times. Much of the credit goes to our phenomenal staff. The School Board and I recognize that every employee has been stretched and stressed to meet federal, state and local goals. You have worked hard and have been asked to do more than educators from any other era.
Now is the time to fine-tune our work, put it all together and provide students with an education like no other.
Our schools and teachers have been equipped with current technology, engaging teaching-and-learning strategies and a teaching toolbox full of digital, hard-copy and home-grown resources. Our schools have moved completely into the 21st century. We will continue our efforts to provide every resource necessary.
Excellence is always our objective. Working together, we can achieve it.
– Dr. Marcus Newsome