The Clay County School System is again using other money in the budget for teacher salaries.
Director of Schools Matt Eldridge said it seems to be an annual occurrence. Eldridge said the BEP formula does not provide enough money for teachers with advanced degrees.
“They allot you for masters, and we got some teachers with another degree, which would be EDS, educational specialists, and you got to pay them too,” Eldridge said. “With our certifications, we were allotted $47,000 from the state, and it is going to cost us double that or a little bit more.”
Eldridge said the BEP funding shortage does not mean the school system can not pay salaries. Eldridge said central office has used other revenue streams like property tax to find the extra $119,000 needed.
“It doesn’t put us in a bind, but what it does do is each year a teacher may go back and advance their degree, you’re going to have to pay more for their salary,” Eldridge said. “And, you don’t always get that amount allotted to you. Especially if your school has more teachers than the state gives you money for.”
Eldridge said a point of concern for him is future teacher raises while the funding formula remains the same. Eldridge said he wants raises for teachers, but if the state doesn’t provide the funding, it could cause more budgeting issues in the future.
“Every year, the state always talks about the funding formula, and that has always been a challenge for them,” Eldridge said. “And they try to change it a little every year to help all schools, but they can’t do much, because if they for instance change the formula a little and give it to rural schools, then they feel like it takes away from the inter-city schools. So, they’re going to be limited with how much they do change it. We’ve been this same formula for at least 10 years, I guess. It is always a challenge.”
Eldridge said this is a yearly situation that arises with most school systems once budget season roles around. The Clay County Board of Education will have the first reading of its new fiscal year budget Thursday.