Newtown-Harris Board of Education approves $40,000 teacher base salary

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The Newtown-Harris R-3 Board of Education approved an amended salary schedule for the upcoming school year on June 24. The approval includes participation in the Teacher Baseline Salary Grant, raising the minimum teacher salary to $40,000.

Superintendent Dr. Matt Copeland reported that the new grant funds ensure teachers earning less than $40,000 receive a $2,000 increase to meet the $40,000 minimum. Local funds will be used to provide a $2,000 raise to all other staff members over their 2023-2024 salaries. Amended teacher contracts will be sent out soon.

Copeland noted that the salary increases position the district to fully comply with Senate Bill 727 salary changes, set to take full effect in the 2025-2026 school year. A key aspect of the changes includes ensuring staff members with a Master’s Degree and 10 years of experience earn at least $46,000 by 2025-2026. Starting in January 2025, a statewide cost of living adjustment will influence teacher salaries based on Senate Bill 727 legislation.

The board approved a milk bid from Prairie Farms for the next school year. The bid included half-pints of 1% white milk for 36.8 cents, 1% chocolate, and strawberry milk for 39.03 cents, and skim milk for 34.57 cents. It also included five pounds of cottage cheese and sour cream at $11.90.

Non-certified staff members were formally approved for hiring for the next school year. Positions included bookkeeper, secretary, maintenance, food service, assistant food service, and two paraprofessional positions.

The board approved the fiscal year 2025 budget, anticipating Fund 10 to have $1,034,883, Fund 20 $726,018, Fund 40 $50,000, and Fund 60 $46,801. Total anticipated revenues are $1,857,702, with expenditures for Fund 10 at $798,018, Fund 20 at $953,411, Fund 40 at $50,000, and Fund 60 at $46,801. The total anticipated expenditures are $1,848,230, leaving a surplus of $9,472.

Copeland stated that the budget aims to be conservative on revenues and higher on expenditures to account for inflation and unforeseen costs during the school year. He noted the district has no Fund 30 debt service obligations, which is why Fund 30 is not mentioned in the budget.

With the end of federal COVID-19 funds, Copeland emphasized the critical nature of the next few years for school districts, particularly small ones like Newtown-Harris. Rising inflation and potential unfunded mandates from the state necessitate fiscal responsibility.

The board also approved amending the 2023-2024 budget to reflect actual figures, marking the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The board transferred $237,333.41 from Fund 10 (General Fund) to Fund 20 (Teachers Fund) to reconcile Fund 20, as the district must zero out Fund 20 at the end of the fiscal year.

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