The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 17, 2013

Carthage School Board OKs $45 million budget

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A proposed budget that sets Carthage School District spending at $45.7 million for the fiscal year starting July 1 was approved by the Carthage School Board  on Monday night.

The budget represents an increase of almost 3.5 percent over spending in the current year’s budget. It also includes additional teaching positions and increases in staff pay, said Superintendent Blaine Henningson.

He said increases in teacher pay are aimed at “catching up” with salaries offered by some neighboring districts.

“We’ve been very conservative in the last several years, and we had fallen behind some of our neighbors,” he said. “We’ll still be below some of them, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Pay increases are set at 4 percent, compared with just under 3 percent last year. He said the district also will cover the costs of an increase in health insurance premiums for teachers and staff, to cost $78,500.

The budget funds 10 additional teaching positions, including English language learning trainers.

The district expects to receive about $10 million in local tax revenues., the superintendent said.  State funding, which totaled just under $20 million last year, is expected to grow by about 2 percent, based on improvements in the state’s economy. Federal funding is estimated at $4.2 million, which is down over $100,000, because to cuts as a result of the federal sequestration program.

Deborah Swarens, assistant superintendent for instruction, also reviewed cuts in federally-funded programs, which she said would trim program budgets by 5 percent.

“We knew it was coming so we planned accordingly and we have some carry-over funds we can use to offer the same services in every area but Title I. We’re going to have to cut back on the hours of some paraprofessionals there,” she said.

Title I funding for the current school year totaled nearly $1.2 million, according to Swarens’ report.

Textbooks

The board also approved new textbook adoptions for the coming year, including elementary social studies texts, and high school texts in geography, world history and social studies, costing more than $390,000.

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