Teacher Raises Approved

Boost ranges from 3.8 to 6.5 percent

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The Payson School board, at its Thursday evening meeting, accepted the district administration's recommendation on how and where to spend new and unexpected state revenue.

The money, part of which was from a state budget signed into law more than two weeks ago by Gov. Janet Napolitano, also included new revenue for increases in the number of students and money to offset transportation and utilities costs.

Associate Superintendent for Business Services Bobbette Sylvester told the board total new revenue was $1,137,534.50. Of that amount $644,034.53 is to be used to fund increases in Arizona State Retirement, insurance cost, employee raises and to fund all-day kindergarten classes. Sylvester said $493,499.97 needed to be appropriated.

Her recommendations were to spend the money on a maintenance budget increase, technology allocation, district vehicles, a part-time special education director, administrator raises and half-day kindergarten classes.

The recommendations, which were questioned but accepted by the board, left a $249 deficit.

Asked about contingency funds, Sylvester said she would come up with a written plan to build reserve savings into the budget that could be used for unexpected expenses.

Board member Charles Brown cautioned the district to spend the money wisely, saying "we have been known not to be frugal in some areas."

The use of the new district revenues would include a 4 percent raise for classified employees and additional 2 percent for certified and administrative employees. Sylvester said including increases in the original budget, classified would receive a 4.5 percent increase, administrators a 4 percent boost and certified from 3.8 to 6.5 percent.

Teachers had been awaiting word on how the new budget monies would be allocated since the governor signed the budget that included $100 million for teacher raises and to offset the mandatory increase in retirement costs.

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