The Columbia School Board will hold two open sessions at 7:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. today to discuss the proposed 2007-08 school budget. The board will meet in the Administration Building at 1818 W. Worley St. to present the budget, which includes increases in teacher salaries, the addition of about 69 full-time employees and the use of academic shuttles at junior high and middle schools. The additional personnel will be spread throughout the district, with a special focus on math tutors at the elementary level and student health services to help with a drug task force, said board member Jan Mees.
Revenues for the 2007-08 school year are projected at almost $154 million, while operating costs are estimated at $164 million.
To bridge this gap between revenue and expenses, the board would use the district’s reserve funds to pay for the changes. This is a change from previous budget proposals, which have used either state funds, public bonds or tax increases.
“We are using the reserve funds instead of tax increases because no one wants their taxes raised. The reserves right now are healthy,” Mees said. This proposal will reduce reserve funds by 28 percent.
Parents and community members are welcome to attend and weigh in on the budget proposal, which will be discussed for approval at the next regular board meeting on June 11.