Northumberland school board adjusts budget

by Audrey Thomasson

LOTTSBURG—Due to a cut by Northumberland supervisors in requested school budget allocations, county school board members last week made adjustments that resulted in fewer new teaching positions, loss of a 3-year-old program and reduced salary increases for employees.

The school board’s proposed budget request of $17,719,203 was cut by $367,288. Supervisors approved $17,351,915, projecting an increase of $547,394 more than the current budget of $16,804,521.

Additionally, supervisors removed category spending restrictions.

In a special meeting May 25, school board members trimmed a proposed teacher salary increase from 4% to 3%, which includes a step increase. Administrators will receive a step increase of 1 1/4% and all other employees will see a 2% increase.

New positions surviving the final cut include two full-time teachers and two full-time paraprofessionals for the pre-kindergarten program and one additional special education teacher at the high school.

The board will forego applying for a grant from Kids First Foundation to help fund a program for at-risk 3-year-olds that would ready them for kindergarten.

“Our priority this year is to get our full day pre-K program in place,” said board vice chairman Gayle Sterrett. “We still hope to do Kids First in the future.”