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Lexington District One Approves Budget with Slight Teacher Raise and New Programs

School budget increase concept

Lexington District One Approves Budget with Slight Teacher Raise and New Programs

In a recent development, the school board of Lexington District One approved a budget allocation for the upcoming school year amounting to a total of $385.1 million, without a millage increase. The approved budget for the 2024-25 academic year allocates a sweeping 90% of the total budget towards salaries.

Salary Boost for Lexington District One’s Educators

Among the most significant adjustments in the new budget is a pay rise for teachers. The starting salary for a teaching position has seen a boost from the previous $43,910 to $47,000. To further enhance the perceived value of the job, all eligible employees are set to receive a step increase plus a 3% raise during the school year. The decision to improve teachers’ salaries was bolstered by the passage of a statewide bill, H. 5100, by the House and Senate.

Breaking it down, teachers, librarians, and counselors constitute more than half of the total salary expense, coming in at 56.17%. School administrators, on the other hand, account for 5.3% of salary and fringe expenditures.

Challenges Encountered in Budget Planning

The drafting of the 2024-25 budget was not without its hurdles. Key challenges included the end of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) drawn from federal COVID-19 funds. Adding to the testing circumstances was a “significant reduction” in enrollment in Lexington One schools and a redefined state funding formula. A notable dip in enrollment from the previous school year revealed that the current student population is 25,944, which is down by more than 1,200 students.

Introduction of New Programs

Despite the obstacles, the budget has made provision for two new student support initiatives in elementary schools named ATLAS and Connect. Designed to address elementary students’ behavioral needs, the ATLAS program will cater to pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students showcasing behaviors that impede their progress in traditional classrooms.

In contrast, the Connect program will address students with significant cognitive and developmental delays whose disruptive behaviors aren’t manageable in a self-contained traditional school environment. Students manifesting such challenging behaviors often carry out regular physical aggression, disruptive outbursts, or shutdown.

Both programs will offer a tailored program lasting nine to eighteen weeks, with dedicated staff support. The ATLAS program will need approximately $815,000 for salaries, between $36,000-40,000 for furniture, $80,000 for resources and supplies, and partnerships with nurses, food service, and mental health services.

The Connect program budget will be divided into two phases, with phase one allocating more than $118,000 for equipment and staff. Phase two, slated for the 2025-26 school year and focused on preparing the Rosenwald Community Learning Center for the program, is expected to cost around $67,000.

Potential Future Budget Adjustments

Several contingency items could be added to the budget, including special education staffing to tackle needs that surface during the school year, amounting to $375,000, and mobile computing device repairs costing around $50,000. This is due to the discontinuation of technology repair and replacement fees charged to parents.

The school board has indicated its intention to reassess the budget and make necessary amendments after receiving revised revenue figures from the state.


Lexington District One Approves Budget with Slight Teacher Raise and New Programs

HERE Irmo
Author: HERE Irmo

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