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by Patty Cheffey
Raises for employees and new equipment are among the items approved by the Palmyra R-I Board of Education in the 2023-24 school year budget.
The board approved the $12,812,179.82 budget during their meeting last week, noting it has an operating surplus of $60,688.50.
Some highlights of the budget are a $1,250 increase to the base salary for teachers in addition to the $400 vertical step on the salary schedule for years of experience given to eligible teachers.
Non-certified staff also so a raise in their base salary from $12 to $13 an hour. In addition, the non-certified salary schedule was adjusted with 15 cent steps for paraprofessionals and secretaries and 10 cent steps for custodial. Bus driver pay was increased 5 percent to $84 per day.
“We worked hard to present a quality budget to the board tonight. We have surplus, but that is built in to take care of typical issues that arise during the school year,” said Superintendent Jason Harper. “We were able to take care of all the educational service requests from the buildings and give classified and certified employees their step and a raise.”
The budget also includes $149,000 for the implementation of the Career Ladder program, to which 67 R-I teachers are participating.
“Teachers in year one or two are not eligible for career ladder,” said Harper. “We have right at two-thirds of the staff participating.”
The budget also includes a middle school assistant principal as well as three-eighths of teachers in both Palmyra Elementary School technology and Palmyra Middle School physical education.
Harper noted there is no increase to health insurance and for the 12th time in 20 years there is no increase in the Missouri Teacher Retirement Program and Missouri Non-Teacher Retirement Program.
The budget does include some new items for the school as well, including new classroom furniture for first and second grades, three weight racks for the high school, elementary and middle school reading software, social-emotional curriculum and standards-based curriculum guides for K-12 ELA.
“We will also be installing a new transformer at the high school next spring and will acquire a new bus for transportation,” Harper said.
The operating levy used in the development of the budget is $3.3480, which is the same rate as FY 2022 and reflects a voluntary rollback in the operating funds of $.4020 from the highest voter approved operating levy.