Danville Schools tentative budget includes $1/hour raise for instructional assistants, bus drivers, cooks

Published 7:00 am Monday, May 23, 2022

The tentative budget approved by the Danville Independent Schools Board of Education on Monday evening for fiscal year 2022-23 includes a $1 per hour raise for instructional assistants, bus drivers and cooks.

The tentative budget also includes a 5% raise for all other classified and certified employees.

Instructional Assistant Judy Todd, who works at Mary G. Hogsett Primary School and has worked in the district for many years, said, “I was totally shocked when I saw the $1 per hour raise for us. That is a big raise. So, whoever was involved in this decision, I truly appreciate it and thank everyone very much. I absolutely love working for the Danville Schools and am thankful to get to work with our precious babies every day. Thank you all!”

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During the meeting, Board Member Esther Rugerio thanked Interim Superintendent Elmer Thomas and Finance/HR Director Kim Huddleston for the hours of work they have put into drafting the tentative budget.

“I really, really appreciate the amount of time you spent,” she said.

As far as some anticipated expenses the tentative budget shows, Huddleston said it reflects anticipated salary increases for staff across the board, as well as increases in utility rates and diesel costs, like what people are seeing in their own homes and personal expenses.

“Then we looked at what we had been spending money on as far as maintenance, and we had had a lot of bus maintenance and repair issues, and due to the aging of our fleet, we felt we needed to budget for at least two buses,” she said.

Additionally, when it comes to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) at John W. Bate Middle School and the work needed on that, staff is looking at different financing options and may be able to pull from the general fund and leftover Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

Thomas said the district will be beginning the fiscal year with a balanced budget.

Huddleston said cash flow is in a good place.

“We’ve been having more revenue than what we’ve expensed, so therefore cash flow has not been a concern,” she said. “We continue to watch and monitor to make sure we’re not dispersing more than we’re taking in each month, and we compare it to previous years to see what our trends are.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved a second reading of a board policy pertaining to public comment at board meetings. This will allow members of the public to speak on items on the meeting agenda for up to three minutes per individual. When it comes to items not on the agenda, members of the public can speak on them if they submit their requests to the superintendent five days prior to the date of the meeting.

• Approved a HB 678 resolution. This will allow more speed and freedom to the board when it comes to funding, financing, design, construction, renovation, or modification of district facilities.