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Local school budgets include significant pay increases

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Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Ann McIlroy. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

The Roswell Independent School District Board of Education approved the 2019-20 operating budget for the district and the only charter it authorizes, Sidney Gutierrez Middle School, during its Tuesday meeting.

State funding per student for K12 public education has increased significantly for the academic year — going up $14.64 million to a total of $87.31 million for the Roswell district. But Chad Cole, assistant superintendent for Finance and Operations, said there is less money to spend freely as one would expect, considering the attention given to state funding increases.

“This budget is incredibly tight,” he said. “There is not a whole lot of money to go around.”

He explained that the mandated pay increases for teachers and instructors and changes in the ways instructional materials and dual-credit courses will be funded have meant that the school district does not have much flexibility with how money is spent.

The district’s budget, which will be adjusted as the academic year progresses, is now expected to have total revenues and total expenditures of about $89.25 million, with salaries and benefits representing 83.53% of the total. Two-thirds, or 75%, of the budget directly supports instruction and students, Cole said.

Most teachers will receive pay increases in the range of 10% to 15% this year, Cole said.

The state has mandated a 6% raise for all teachers, as well as an increase in minimum starting pay for all levels of teachers. As a result, teacher salaries districtwide will increase $6.17 million for the raises and $149,340 for the starting pay increases. The district’s contributions for health insurance and retirement benefits are also increasing. All told, the district could pay $9.98 million more for teacher salaries and benefits in the year ahead, $8.17 million for existing teachers and $1.81 million if it fills its 29 vacancies.

Sidney Gutierrez Middle School staff presented a 2019-20 budget with $936,194 in expenditures, with 81%, or $565,469, allocated for salaries and benefits. It will receive state per-pupil funding of about $565,469 for an enrollment of 66 sixth- to eighth-graders. Instruction will be allocated $597,459 of the budget, or about 63.82% of total expenses.

Sidney Gutierrez will contribute 2% of its SEG funding, or $14,234, to the district to pay for handling of revenues and banking services. It also pays $10,000 a year to the district for accounting, bidding services and other administrative functions.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.