Janesville31.1°

Turner budget, staff to increase

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ANN MARIE AMES
May 20, 2008
— The Turner School District won’t need to make staffing or programming cuts next year and anticipates adding at least three full-time teaching positions.

The district has been fortunate to have a steady increase of resident students for several years, which has allowed the district to increase its operating budget to meet costs, Business Administrator Brad Boll said.


In July, the district will present a $13.66 million operating budget to voters, Boll said. That’s about a 5 percent increase from the $13 million 2007-2008 budget, he said.


Most of the increase comes from teacher salaries and benefits, which make up 82 percent of the budget, Boll said. The total package increase in the 2007-2009 contract was 4.2 percent; salaries increased 2.39 percent per cell, Boll said.


The district has not started negotiating the 2009-2011 teachers contract, he said. When it does, the district likely will try offering a retirement incentive that worked well in the last negotiation, Boll said.


By offering increased benefits for teachers who retired by the end of this school year, the district encouraged eight of its 30 high school teachers to retire, Boll said. That will save money in salaries, but it increased the amount that the district owes retired teachers.


The contract includes an $11,000 health benefits stipend per year for four years for any teacher who retired at the end of this school year or $8,000 per year for a teacher who retires next year.


Turner teachers had been getting a $6,500 stipend per year.


“Eight (retiring teachers) was really what my goal was,” Boll said. “In two years, we can pay for the added retirement benefits.”


Two of the district’s new teaching positions will be in the new 4-year-old kindergarten program, Boll said. The most recent count shows that more than 50 children could attend 4K in the fall.


That district is planning on four half-day classes of 15 children each, Boll said. It will host some 4K classes at Powers Elementary, 620 Hillside Drive, Beloit, and is contracting with Kiddie Ranch, 1400 E. Inman Parkway, Beloit, to make room for the rest of the students.


The district will use grant money and money from the general fund to pay for 4K, Boll said. At last estimate, the program will cost $130,000, although that was before Boll planned for four classes, he said.


The budget increase also reflects an increase in fuel and utility costs. The district manages a fleet of 19 buses, Boll said.


The only thing that could drastically change the budget between now and July is a sharp increase in gasoline and diesel costs, Boll said.


Budget outlook

A look at the 2008-09 budget for the Beloit Turner School District:


Highlights: A growing student population means the district doesn’t have to cut programming; the district will add at least three teaching positions.


What’s next?: Residents will approve the budget at the annual meeting in July.


Operating budget

Next year $13.66 million


This year $13.01 million


Increase 4.7%


Note: Percent changes calculated on whole numbers.



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