School board approves 2 percent raise
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Mar 14, 2013 | 1082 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Board of Education members voted Wednesday in a called session to approve the 2013-14 general funds budget, and with it, a 2 percent salary increase for faculty and staff.

According to the general fund budget overview, the governor’s budget plan currently includes a 1.5 percent pay increase. The additional .5 percent comes from a blend of the school system’s revenue, said Brenda Carson, Cleveland Schools business manager.

Martin Ringstaff, city schools director, said the governor’s plan currently allows the 1.5 percent to be manipulated however the local school systems see fit.

“What they are trying to do is throw us into a bonus system,” Ringstaff said. “We have chosen not to go that route.”

A bonus system would allow city schools employees to earn raises based on performance. The money would be spread out disproportionately across the system. Ringstaff said he hesitates to implement a paid-for-performance plan until one is established which is fair to all teachers.

“Right now I am not a fan of them, and neither has the school board been, so far,” Ringstaff said. “We believe all of our employees are important, from school bus drivers to principals and supervisors.”

Carson said money given by the state for raises does not necessarily mean enough money is given for everyone to receive a raise.

“It has always been our philosophy here in Cleveland City Schools, everybody gets the raise,” Carson said. “It really helps employee morale with everyone getting the same raise and consideration.”

Additional proposed funding from the state includes $200,000 in capital outlay funds and $277,000 in technology funding. Carson said while the money has been included in the school budget, she is aware circumstances could change as the state budget has not been passed. Carson said she does not like to count on funds unless she knows they will be there.

Ringstaff said the budget’s structure enables the system to absorb decreases in Title 1 funding expected from the sequester.

Lack of federal funds will affect materials before an impact is seen on employees’ job security, according to Carson. This is because federal monies are not used to fund new positions. Carson said the risk of the federal funds running out is too great.

Ringstaff said more of an affect from decreased federal funds will be felt in the 2014-15 school year.

The total of the 2013-14 school budget is $40,510,445. According to the general fund budget overview, this is just under 3 percent more than the amended 2012-13 budget. Certain funds have not been included into the budget as they have not been approved, like the SAFE schools grant and e-rate funding.

Approval by the Board of Education for the 2013-14 budget is the first of two steps toward completion. The Cleveland City Council will be the final voice on the school’s budget. Amendments can be made to the budget by the school until presented to the council.

According to Ringstaff, Cleveland schools are receiving a flat-rate from the Council for a fourth year in a row. He said the city schools were very happy with the City Council.

Murl Dirksen, board member, said he believes a lot of people feel there is a lot of fat in the school budget. He said it is not true. According to Dirksen, officials look at everything to see where money can be saved.

The public can see for itself when the 2013-14 budget goes online following the Council’s approval.