Record Fayette school budget to add 31 new teachers

Record Fayette school budget to add 31 new teachers

Starting salary plus benefits for each new teacher: $63,220

The Fayette County Board of Education on June 25 will adopt the 2018-2019 budget totaling $211.5 million, the system’s largest-ever budget. The school board will add 31 new teachers, with the idea of helping keep class sizes as small as possible.

The school system had a year-end enrollment of 20,083 students, comparable in size to year-end totals from 2001-2002. The budget that school year 16 years ago was slightly under $136 million.

A breakdown of revenue sources from the $211.469 million budget shows $95 million from property taxes, $8.325 million from vehicle tags and taxes, $3.6 million from other local sources and $104.1 million, roughly half of revenue funding, from the state.

Assistant Superintendent for Finance Tom Gray said the $211.5 million in revenue includes a projected net increase of 4.9 percent in the tax digest.

Gray noted that approximately half of revenues come from state QBE (Quality Basic Education) sources.

The current budget, which expires on June 30, totals $203.67 million, with the new budget representing an increase of $7.798 million.

The proposed increase in expenditures includes items such as 31 full-time equivalent school-level positions, eight classified (such as parapros) positions and a teacher retirement system rate increase of $5.4 million.

A starting teacher receives a salary of $40,358, along with $22,862 in benefits, for a total budget impact of $63,220. Pertaining to benefits, the primary costs are health insurance at $11,340 and payments into the teacher retirement system of 20.9 percent.

Similarly, a teacher with eight years experience receives a total compensation of $84,250. That breakdown includes a salary of $56,717 and benefits totaling $27,533.

A 20-year teacher receives a compensation package totaling $109,656. The package includes a $76,481 salary and $33,175 in benefits.

One of the reasons often cited by school board members and the administration for increasing the number of teachers deals with keeping student-teacher ratios as low as possible.

Per the upcoming budget, the average kindergarten class will have 18.3 students, first through third grade classes will have an average of 18.7 students, fourth and fifth grades will have an average of 24.8 students, sixth through eighth grade will have an average of 22.9 student and high school clases will have an average of 23.5 students.

Fayette employs 220.67 school-based full-time equivalent employees beyond what state dollars help fund. Those salaries total $13.917 million and includes 112.33 teachers, 13.52 counselors, 12 assistant principals and 82.82 parapros.

The budget proposal includes $212.4 million in expenditures, with direct instruction accounting for 67.2 percent of total expenditures.

The budget again next year maintains a reserve amount totaling 10 percent of revenues, or $22,841,858.

The school board is expected to adopt the budget on June 25. A public hearing on the budget will be held at the June 11 work session at the central office location on Stonewall Avenue in Fayetteville.

The May 29 public hearing came with no one from the community speaking. At the time of public comments, there were less than two dozen people in the meeting room, of which nearly all were school system employees or affiliates.