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School board discusses draft budget totaling $20.4 million

Bring a shovel

The groundbreaking for the new Lancaster High School will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 29. The school site is along Irvington Road near Dream Fields and Hills Quarter. The public is invited to bring their shovels to participate in the ceremony.

LANCASTER—Lancaster school superintendent Jessica Davis on Tuesday, February 20, shared with the school board a revised budget proposal that includes funding for additional staff, expanded programs and pay raises for all division staff.

As previously discussed, the proposed budget would include either a 3%, 5% or 7% raise for all staff, with teachers receiving an equivalent 1.5%, 3.5% or 5.5% plus a 1.5% step. The current starting teacher salary is $47,507 and with the proposed increases, starting pay would be $48,932, $49,822, or $50,832, respectively. In addition to the pay raises, the division is planning to absorb the expected 10% increase in health insurance premiums within the budget rather than pass it on to the employees.

With the 7% option previously agreed to by the board, the existing $18,112,705 total budget would increase by $2,320,276 (12.81%) to $20,432,981. Nearly all of the proposed increase, $2,255,462, would come from local funding, bringing that total to $14,112,586 compared to the current budget of $11,857,124.

Davis noted, “In fiscal 2023 and fiscal year 2024 our local funding remained flat. We can’t stay flat….

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