The Wayne County Board of Education voted to recommend its fiscal 2023-24 budget to the county commissioners that includes a boost in the local teacher supplement.
During a special called meeting Wednesday, the board approved $223.7 million budget plan that includes a 1% increase in teacher supplements. The budget will be reviewed for approval by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners and go into effect July 1, the start of the fiscal year.
The budget includes funding for safety and security updates, said Michael Priddy, Wayne County Public Schools interim superintendent.
“This budget supports our students, their families, and our employees, and reflects our continued efforts to be fiscally responsible while meeting educational needs and addressing the challenges facing our school district in the coming year,” Priddy said in his budget message to the school board.
The 1% teacher supplement increase is a multiyear plan that will have an annual recurring cost of $1.2 million to help recruit high quality certified teachers to the county, he said.
“There is a shrinking pipeline of teachers nationwide and competition has never been greater between neighboring school districts and states to attract and retain certified teachers,” he said.
The teacher supplement, if approved, would increase from 7.5% to 8.5% of their annual salary. The teacher supplement has not been increased since the 2019-20 fiscal year, when the supplement increased from 6.5% to 7.5%.
The budget includes funding earmarked to improve safety at county schools for its 17,400 students and 2,000 staff, he said.
The budget proposal includes a one time capital expense of $4 million for better access controls, such as exterior door replacements and safer corridors and vestibules, new access equipment, improving campus monitoring and communication through updated camera and intercom systems, and securing pathways between buildings, Priddy said.
Increasing teacher supplements and improving safety at area schools are two priorities for the school board.
“These two priorities cannot be addressed within the normal annual operational budget,” Priddy said. “They will require additional financial support from the board of county commissioners.”
The budget also includes fixed cost increases, athletic cost increases and funding for the recruitment and retention of staff.
Fixed costs pay for anticipated state salary and benefit increases, expected insurance increases and teacher supplement costs.
Athletic costs include funding for middle and high school athletic transportation, facility upgrades and repairs and increased costs for officials and security.
Funding for the recruitment and retention of staff includes local matches to state funding for sign-on bonuses to recruit teachers.
The 2023-24 budget is funded through $134.9 million in state funds, $46.1 million in federal funds, and $24.8 million in Wayne County tax dollars to cover the school district’s operational costs, Priddy said.
This proposed budget reflects a $13.2 million decrease from the 2022-23 fiscal year budget of $236.9 million.
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