Friday, May 24, 2024
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Putnam Schools First Budget Draft Includes $4M In Raises

Putnam County Director Of Schools Corby King said the system wants to target employee raises in the new fiscal year budget outlined Thursday night.

“We are a people driven business,” King said.

The first draft of the budget includes some $7 million in increased expenses. Raises for all certified personnel make up some $2 million of that. The budget draft, approved by the school board Thursday night, includes a roughly $2,000 per person raise for all certified personnel.

King said the certified increase averages about a four percent raise top to bottom.

Support personnel would receive a $3 per hour increase. King said the system’s compensation plan sits way behind private employers. King noted the employers at this week’s part time job fair at Cookeville High School were willing to pay some students $4 per hour above what the school system pays bus drivers.

“We’ve got a lot of room we need to catch up,” King said. “We’ve got to make some headway.”

Across the system, those raises would mean an increase of some $1.97 million in expenses. In addition to raises, the proposed budget includes step increases of some $975,000 and health insurance increases of $293,000.

The system wants to add seven personnel positions including four teachers designated for growth. King said it remains to be seen where those teachers would be placed. In addition, the system wants to add 1.5 guidance counselors to help students at the three largest elementary schools, Algood, Capshaw, and Prescott South Elementary.

“All of those schools are over 500 students and they have one guidance counselor,” King said. “It’s more than what they can manage with the social and emotional needs of our students.”

The additional personnel includes an ESL position and an interpreter to be positioned at Cookeville High School. The position would be shared with Jere Whitson and Northeast Elementary Schools.

King said the remaining expenditure increases are all related to inflation. The system expects utilities, buses, textbooks, and maintenance costs all to increase.

After the first budget draft, the system faces a gap of $3,069,836, a number King said he and the system’s leadership team are comfortable with at this point. The system still does not have final numbers on its BEP allotment from the state as well as penny rate information from the county commission.

“This is not a huge gap, we try to keep it as minimum as we can” School Board Chair Lynn McHenry said. “The salaries and wages we all recognize in the environment we’re in has to increase.”

The school system will discuss the budget as well as capital needs with County Commissioners Monday night.

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