Johnson City school board committee discusses budget

Brandon Paykamian • Mar 25, 2019 at 6:32 PM

The Johnson City Board of Education Finance Committee met Monday to discuss its 2019-20 school year budget draft and other business ahead of the school board’s monthly meeting on April 4. 

Among business discussed, the board delved into projected expenditures in the first draft of budget requests for the next school year and how those play into the system’s current revenues.

Total funding source increases for next year sit at about $1,313,760. The board expects an increase of approximately $750,000 from the state’s basic education program fund, a $334,760 increase in sales tax revenues, a $201,000 increase in property tax revenues and about $10,000 in tuition funds. 

Staff raises — which include a 3 percent raise and step increases — will account for $522,000 of expenditures, according to officials. Dental insurance rates for staff are also set to increase marginally, accounting for an additional $23,200. However, Superintendent Steve Barnett said the school district is hoping to absorb those dental costs. 

In budget requests, officials touched on some of their main funding priorities. Those priorities included $70,000 for a special education instructor at Mountain View Elementary, $70,000 for an additional science teacher at Science Hill High School, $66,000 for an additional pre-kindergarten instructor, $50,000 requested for instructional software expansion and nearly $50,000 for a microscope lab at Science Hill High School. 

Included in middle-priority expenditures was $18,000 for lacrosse coaching supplements for the new Science Hill lacrosse team. 

Another concern brought up was upgraded access control systems for Science Hill’s main campus, Science Hill’s career and technical classrooms, Liberty Bell Middle School and Indian Trail Intermediate School. Board member Kathy Hall said the district “will need to fund that,” to which Barnett agreed, citing it as a safety concern that should be prioritized and discussed further at April’s school board meeting. 

Barnett said he would like to see those upgrades, which would account for approximately $150,000, finished as soon as possible. 

“It’s critical to be able to go ahead and do that, and we could probably do that with savings from before,” Barnett said. 

The board will have more accurate budget numbers next month, which will take into account exact BEP funding from the state. 

A previous version of this article said the raise discussed was 1 percent. It was 3 percent.