After FY18 cuts, increases punctuate IRSD’s FY19 preliminary budget

SELBYVILLE – The all-important Sept. 30 unit count will finalize Indian River School District’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which in preliminary presentation form stands at nearly $158 million.

IRSD Director of Business Jan Steele in a financial update at the Aug. 27 board of education meeting unveiled the preliminary budget, which includes approximately $48 million in discretionary funds – a 2.6-percent increase over the past year.

“This is a preliminary budget,” Ms. Steele reminded the board. “After Sept. 30, where we’ll find out what funds we receive due to unit count, I will do a final budget that will update all of the numbers.”

After a FY18 year punctuated by reductions and cutbacks, the FY19 budget includes increases in school budgets by $586,000, reinstatement of athletic budgets following last year’s budget cuts and increases in local salaries based on the current contracts.

In addition, some EPER (extra pay for extra responsibility) positions were reinstated for teachers in the schools, Ms. Steele said.

On the revenue side, the professional development budget is up 78 percent, from $71,484 in FY18 to $124,023 for the current fiscal year. Board member Leolga Wright asked for the reason. Ms. Steele explained it is tied to the IRSD’s approximate $2 million state giveback.

“Last year we gave back half of our professional development money in the state giveback,” Ms. Steele said. “We have already given back $500,000 in administrative positions. So, we still have roughly $1.4 million to give back to the state. So, we have not decided what funding we will use. We have to take a state appropriation and give back or give the positions back. So, that may change.”

The biggest ticket line item in FY19 budget is salaries, which are projected at $111,610,500.

School discretionary budgets are increasing from $482,986 to $1,164,800 in FY 19 and the athletics budget is $1,056,700, up from $821,681 in FY18.

By state law, school districts are required to have enough local funds on hand to cover one month’s local salary. For Indian River, that is about $2.5 million in local funding.

This past January, Ms. Steele announced that one of the district’s primary goals was to stock the reserves to the point that “we were comfortable being able to make it from July 1 to October, which roughly takes us about $12 million.”

Her projections were that as of the end of the FY18 year, on June 30, the carryover/reserve fund would be around $8.8 million. The reserve projection through the end of FY19 is $10 million and $12 million through FY20.

“We’re in very food position,” said Ms. Steele.

Pay adjustment/personnel

Following executive session during the Aug. 27 meeting, the IRSD board of education voted to offer teachers a five-percent pay raise for FY19 with a zero-percent raise for FY20.

Previously, this was supposed to be three percent in FY19 and two percent in FY20 under the contract that was renegotiated in 2017, according to IRSD spokesman David Maull.  In essence, this would basically give teachers their entire raise in FY19.

The school board voted 9-1 in approving this offer. Charles Bireley, Rodney Layfield, Derek Cathell, W. Scott Collins, Leolga Wright, Dr. Heather Statler, James Hudson, Dr. Donald Hattier and James Fritz supported the motion; Gerald Peden opposed.

Teachers are scheduled to hold a ratification vote on this offer this Thursday, Mr. Maull said.

At the meeting, the school board also:

  • approved the salary of IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele at $165,000 for FY19, which is retroactive to July 1, 2018. The board’s vote was 7-3. Mr. Peden, Dr. Statler and Ms. Wright opposed.
  • adopted a salary scale for administrators based on position and years of experience; the document is undergoing revision. The board’s vote was 6-3-1. Mr. Cathell, Mr. Collins, Dr. Statler, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Fritz and Ms. Wright favored the motion, Mr. Bireley, Mr. Layfield and Mr. Peden opposed while Dr. Hattier abstained.
  • adopted a seven-step salary scale for school safety monitors. Step 1 and Step 2 are $38,500 with zero years of experience. Step 7 is $41,653 with six years’ experience. This is effective July 1, 2018. Previously, there was no scale for school safety monitors. The board’s vote was 7-3, with Mr. Fritz, Dr. Statler and Ms. Wright opposing.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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