Jefferson City School Board approves budget

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JEFFERSON CITY – School board members in Jefferson City Tuesday approved $85 million to help fund a brand new high school.

The vote happened during the Jefferson City Public Schools Board of Education meeting where next fiscal year’s budget was approved.  

The meeting was the first chance to review the budget after Cole County residents gave the green light for the new school.

An April ballot asked voters if the school board should approve up to $130 million in bonds for the new school and renovations to the existing Jefferson City High School.

The new high school will open in August of 2019.  School Board President Steve Bruce said the agency is still considering how many teachers should be hired for the new high school.

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Jason Hoffman said the approved budget also includes funding for a new gymnasium at Jefferson City High School, currently the only public high school in the capital city.  Hoffman said the gymnasium would double as a FEMA storm shelter.

Employee salaries

Teachers will get paid more under the new budget. Their raises will be based experience. 

Bruce said lower health care costs in the district will also allow teachers to make a little extra cash next year.

Central office administrators will be excluded from salary increases.

Supplies

The district will increase spending on supplies by 15 percent in the 2017-2018 school year.  The increase will mean incoming high school students will work on Chromebooks, instead of iPads, which current student use. Students already in high school will continue to use iPads until they graduate.

Transportation

Transportation spending will go up about 10 percent, or around $32,000. The money will help maintain buses and ensure drivers are properly compensated.    

Despite the positive outlook for the JCPS budget, Hoffman said he has his reservations going forward.

Specifically, he said he’s concerned about state funding. 

“I’m a little nervous,” Hoffman said, adding he thinks state projections on revenue increases are too ambitious.

The new budget would go into effect for the coming school year.

Bruce had high praise for the district’s financial planning.

“Our priorities are in order, which I think comes through very loudly in this budget.  And I also think it’s a definition of promises kept,” he said.

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