Prairiland approves FY 2022-23 budget

Prairiland ISD’s Board of Trustees increased its teacher pay scale by $ 2,000 when it approved its budget for the coming 2022-23 Fiscal Year at its meeting earlier this week.

The board approved other measures to help attract and retain staff members, including increasing the pay of bus drivers and adjusting their rates to be based on route time and not route length, upping the pay of hourly workers like the custodial staff by roughly $ 500 a year and increased the district’s health insurance contribution from $ 351 to $ 418, which will add up to an additional $ 5,016 over the course of a year.

“This teacher shortage is getting serious, it really is,” Superintendent Jeff Ballard said. “Secondary-wise it’s hard (to hire someone). Elementary, it’s getting hard. ”

“Our starting (salary) is now $ 37,000,” business manager Rhonda Weatherford added. “Those first steps we increased just to compete with what the other districts were doing.”

The district has hired a second grade teacher, a dyslexia teacher and an aide, Ballard said, though there are still unfilled positions that remain to be hired.

The board approved a fund balance amendment of $ 64,559 for band instruments, as Ballard said the band director has been requesting new instruments for several years, with instrument repairs needing to be done more and more frequently as wear and tear leads to more and more frequent repairs .

“(The band director) says he has more students than band instruments,” Weatherford said.

The funds approved for the band include 10 trombones, five French horns, five tubas and a contra alto clarinet.

The board also looked at several spots around Deport Elementary School that need to be repaired, and the board prioritized a lot to the north of the school used by faculty, staff and parents and a loop just to the south of the school used by food delivery workers.

In total, the board approved $ 93,905 for land improvements at Deport, and Ballard said he would begin looking for concrete bids.

The total budget came in at $ 14,851,487, with $ 6,473,781 going to instruction. Other large expenditures include $ 2,017,298 for debt service and $ 1,408,498 for plant maintenance and operations.

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