Gilbert Public Schools presents $245.7 million budget to board

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Gilbert Public Schools is proposing $245.7 million for its fiscal year 2019-20 budgets, according to staff’s presentation to the governing board.

The proposal calls for a $234.7 million maintenance and operations budget and a nearly $11 million capital budget.

Final adoption will come at the governing board’s June 25 meeting after a public hearing at that meeting.

Maintenance and operations

The M&O budget includes $2.7 million in additional required spending and another $2.2 million in approved additional spending, including more money for teacher raises that is not coming from the state, Finance Director Jackie Mattinen said.

The state’s “20 by 20” to give teachers an additional 20% in salaries by 2020 is based on average teacher salaries from 2016-17 and is not compounded annually. Gilbert teachers were paid above the state average, and thus the money it receives from the state under the plan is not enough to cover the state’s promised raises, officials said.

The Gilbert board voted March 26 to give teachers a 4.5% pay raise for 2019-20, just under the promised 5% from the state, so it could also give other staff members a 3% raise.

Average teacher pay for 2019-20 is expected to be $58,714 annually. That represents a 4.5% increase from $56,186 in 2018-19 and a 14.5% increase from $51,280 in 2017-18, the first year of the program.

Making such moves required the district to raise $4.9 million using one-time and ongoing strategies to mitigate its shortfall and balance the budget.

Still, board members said they appreciated staff’s work and how the budget came together for the coming year.

“It’s nice to have a budget—we still had to do some work—where we’re more in the plus than in the minus,” board member Jill Humpherys said. “I do appreciate the governor and the Legislature for what they did give us.”

Capital budget

Among the state’s actions was a $136 million reduction in its adjustment to District Additional Assistance, meaning the state is moving that amount closer to fully funding the DAA total the state owes schools by its formula.

That $650,000 of increased funding allowed the district in part to increase the capital budget for 2019-20 to nearly $11 million.

The district projects a budget balance carryover of $6.6 million from the fiscal year 2018-19 budget.

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Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.
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