by Mike Leiby
roundup staff reporter
The Payson Unified School District's budget for the upcoming year will likely top $15.7 million and include a 2-percent raise for teachers and more money for administrators, Superintendent Casey O'Brien told the school board in a work-study session this week.
O'Brien said the district needs to sweeten the pot when it comes to administrators' pay if the district hopes to retain and attract quality administrators in the face of statewide competition.
"We are under market (for administrators' pay) in the Payson district," said Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Bobette Tomerlin.
The average teacher's salary in Payson is about $42,000 as compared to about $37,000 to $40,000 in comparable rural districts. By contrast, school administrators in Payson make an average of about $65,100 as compared to about $73,000 in other rural districts.
At the meeting, the governing board gave the district direction to proceed with salary schedules and budget recommendations.
"The governing board will approve or disapprove salary schedules for teachers, classified staff and ranges for administrators at Monday's meeting and at a subsequent meeting we will request approval to issue contracts to these groups," Tomerlin said.
The next regular meeting of the school board is scheduled for Monday, March 10 at 5:30.
The board last Tuesday also forecast possible changes in the district's teaching staff.
Casey said that after crunching the numbers, the district would likely reduce the teaching staff by six positions in an effort to stretch budget dollars as far as possible.
The reductions would include eliminating two positions at the elementary level as well as two each at Rim Country Middle School and Payson High School.
O'Brien said the reduction in teaching staff would not affect the current average class size of about 20 to 22 students per class.
This comes in the face of news that the district is currently suffering from a slowly declining student population.
Tomerlin said that the district's current 2,366-student population declined by 109 students since the previous school year.
"The good news is that this year there is an approved increase of two percent in our per-student funding," said Tomerlin.
The district received about $3,447 per student in 2007-2008, which will next year increase to about $3,515er student.