CPS announces plans to increase budget

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools announced it plans to increase the 2015-2016 operating budget by about $5.6 million.

CPS Chief Financial and Operations Officer Linda Quinley presented the new budget to the Board of Education Monday night.

Quinley said the major part of the increase comes from about $1.5 million to open Battle Elementary and just under $2 million for salary increases.

Crews began construction on Battle Elementary in October 2013, and Quinley said it is expected to open later this year with 450 students. Quinley said $1.1 million of the $1.5 million budget would go toward staffing the new school.

Quinley said just under $2 million would go toward allowing increases for employees based on their experience. The average employee pay increase would be about $784.

Funds for the budget are expected to come from revenues generated from the local economy and state funding, as well as the district's reserve balances.

"All unspent budget rolls over into the reserve balances for future use," Quinley said.

She said the projected actual budget for 2014-2015 is expected to be $814,448 less than planned, so that extra money will be added to the reserve.

Also at the meeting, the Board of Education heard about the need to repair storm water systems around the city.

This issue will be on the April ballot.