Home Education The Memphis School Board has proposed a $ 1.9 billion budget

The Memphis School Board has proposed a $ 1.9 billion budget

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The Memphis School Board has proposed a $ 1.9 billion budget

Memphis-Shelby County School Teachers to Receive 2% Salary Increase and $ 1,500 Retention Bonuses Under Proposed $ 1.93 Billion budget approved by school board members on Tuesday.

Performance of Superintendent Joris Ray promises earlier this year To invest in educators, the 2022-2023 budget will also direct nearly $ 12 million to the teacher education level scale and add a new milestone to the scale for principals.

The budget, passed 5-0 votes, also directs $ 3.5 million to increase the county’s contribution to staff health insurance to 70% from 66% and $ 3 million to attract reserve teachers. (Chairman Michelle McKissock and members Shelley Harris, Billy Orgel and Kevin Woods were absent from the meeting.)

Tennessee’s largest school district also plans to ask $ 55 million from the Shelby County Commission for a variety of capital improvement projects, from renovating schools such as replacing boilers and fire alarm systems, to building a new high school in Fraser for $ 22 million and $ 5 million. stadium in Toby Park.

On the eve of the vote, Ray asked the district commissioners to allocate funds to address the issue of delaying the maintenance of schools and the aging of school buildings in the amount of $ 550 million. More than 33 MSCS schools were built before 1950, meaning that the building is 70 years old or more.

“It’s unfortunate that I graduated from high school almost 30 years ago, and I’m looking at some of the same buildings I entered, and they’re the same as they were 30 years ago,” Ray said. “Enough means enough.”

Ray said investing in schools is essential for the district to achieve its mission of raising public literacy and providing world-class education to Memphis children, most of whom are colored students from low-income families.

“Simply put, I want us to build schools, not prisons,” he said.

The MSCS will formally present the proposed budget to the district commissioner on Wednesday. But $ 55 million asking for capital projects could face a tough battle: Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said offered put $ 28 million to fund school construction. And last year, after the commission, the district leaders had to return to the drawings highlighted just $ 22.3 million from the capital improvement budget for MSCS – less than half of the district’s $ 55 million request.

Overall, the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 represents a reduction of almost 15% from last yearwhich became the largest proposed district budget in history.

Faced with a decline in enrollment, MSCS should receive from the state about $ 18 million less this year based on the number of students from 2020. The district continues to struggle with falling enrollment: for the second year in a row the number of enrollments shrunk about 4,000 students. This means a decrease of just over 3% compared to 2020-21.

But for the most part, the district has been able to survive declining government funding, even with some new costs, said Tony Williams, the district’s chief financial officer. The district received nearly $ 11 million more from the county than last year, thanks to larger-than-expected sales tax revenues. And the district has been able to cut in some areas, including $ 10.6 million through central office positions and equipment, Williams said. Due to the reduced number of entrants, the district will be able to save about $ 3 million on textbooks and $ 20 million on staffing.

Meanwhile, MSCS has been able to shift some budgeted costs from the general fund to other areas. For example, $ 15 million for summer programs will be covered by grants, Williams said, and federal assistance programs from COVID-19 for education, known as ESSER, will fund $ 6 million for academic support, $ 590,000 for health and safety initiatives and $ 337,000. $ 000 for social and emotional assistance. services.

Williams also advertised how the county is currently spending $ 776 million in ESSER funding. These funds went to expand tutoring, summer training, investment in technology, modernization of facilities and additional support for the most vulnerable groups of students in the area, such as English students and people with disabilities.

Samantha West is a reporter for Chalkbeat Tennessee, where she covers K-12 education in Memphis. Contact Samantha at swest@chalkbeat.org.

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