4/12/2018 2:33:00 PM School board discusses priorities during workshop
By Gretta Becay
Even during spring break, many teachers and parents attended the Byron school board's workshop April 2, during which school board members meticulously reviewed ideas for budget reductions and revenue enhancements.
Decisions on the various suggestions won't be made until at least the April 16 meeting.
Last month, the district and the Byron teachers' union reached an agreement for the teachers' two-year contract, which will expire in just over a year. Negotiations began before school got out in 2017 but no agreement was reached.
After a nine-hour mediation session March 27, the tentative agreement calls for teachers to receive no increase in their wages in the first year. In the second year of the contract, teachers will advance two steps within the salary schedule, which will allow them to take home more money.
The full union has not yet voted to accept the agreement. Since the students and teachers were on spring break last week, no union meeting could be scheduled.
Last fall, after an audit, school board members learned that the district's unassigned fund balance (a quasi savings account) had fallen below the amount mandated by the school board and since then, district personnel have worked to find ways to bring the balance back up.
In January a new budgeting process was launched which allowed any stakeholder to take part in the process. A survey yielded more than 700 responses with ideas for reductions and for revenue increases.
Then, the more than 40 members of the six budget committees met to identify the most viable and allowable ideas in their particular area.
After that, the budget advisory team - a group of 25 - met three times to prioritize the ideas.