Leader Blues

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

TOP STORY >>Cabot passes budget

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

The Cabot School Board met Tuesday evening to approve an $82.8 million district budget for the 2007-08 school year.

The current school year budget includes $29.8 million for salaries, $26.6 million for operating expenses, $2.6 million for the district’s debt services, and a total of $23.7 million for categorical and federal funds.

Last school year, Cabot spent $29.16 million on salaries and $25.6 million for operating expenses.

Operational expenses, including ransportation, textbooks, and district-wide equipment and supplies, received an additional $1.053 million for the current school year.

Of the 29 categories that comprise the operating fund, all but four, including expenses for Junior High North, saw an increase in funding.

Last year, JHN had $1.6 million in expenses, but only $650,000 is set aside for this school year.

Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman credits not having to set up the JHN village from scratch as the reason for eliminating $958,781 in costs for Junior High North operations.

“The initial cost to get the village running was tremendous; this included the utility set-up for water and electrical, gravel, phones and more,” Thurman said.

“Basically, needing things set up quickly last year was extremely expensive and those are costs we will not incur this year,” he said.

The teacher salary fund received an overall increase of $661,216 for this school year, but some teacher categories were cut.
Kindergarten teacher funds were cut by $118,515, special-education teacher funds were reduced by $54,691 and the $18,500 for professional development stipends were cut all together. However, elementary teacher funds saw a $154,893 increase, junior high teacher funds gained $171,840, and principals have an additional $92,477 in their salary fund.

This year’s building fund has $12.39 million allocated for district construction projects; last year the amount was $8.65 million and in 2005-06 it was $13.08 million.

“This will complete the cost of Stagecoach Elementary and the balance will be used toward the construction of Junior High North,” Thurman said.

The budget also includes a total of $4.736 million in title and categorical funds and grants used by the district’s federal and special initiative programs.

Title funds, $1.077 million, pay for contract services for teacher licensure, professional development, extended-learning services for the four campuses listed on school improvement, the Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS) program at Cabot High School, and will cover purchasing calculators for middle school students.

The $2.28 million in categorical funds is comprised of National School Lunch Act (NSLA) funds and professional development, Alternative Learning Environment (ALE) and limited English (ELL) expenses.