Financially, things are at last looking up for Bayfield 10 JT-R School District, where – largely because of the mill levy that voters approved last November – teachers are set to get their first raise in three years in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
District Finance Director Amy Lyons said it was still too soon to know how much all district salaries will increase next year.
But she projected teachers’ salaries would increase on average by 8.33 percent in next year’s budget, with the average teacher’s salary rising to about $46,880.
Lyons said the pay increase reflected not just increased district funds, but increased teacher labor. In the final calendar adopted for next year, teachers will work five more days than in fiscal year 2012-13.
Though the district is still waiting to hear the final figures for state funding expected next week, Lyons said teachers’ pay increases likely would range from $2,500 to $6,075 dollars, “depending on what step you’re in, and what column on our salary schedule.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, where Lyons presented a preliminary budget for next year, financial rebound made some board members – and Superintendent Troy Zabel – giddy. Zabel joked that the politics of giving raises was even more treacherous than that of making cuts.
Board president Barbara Wickman said, “I think about where we were last year at this time, and things feel really good.”
Zabel agreed the situation was markedly improved, but assured the board the district would continue to spend cautiously. “We have a lot we want to take care of,” he said.
Since the recession, Bayfield School District has struggled to cope with harrowing budget cuts totaling nearly $1.4 million a year, or nearly 14 percent of its budget, in response to reductions in state funding.
Last November, voters staunched the fiscal bleeding, approving a mill levy increase that brought an additional $1.2 million into the district, the first increase since 2002.
Lyons also said bonds the district issued for capital projects were over-performing because “people were willing to pay extra rates to buy our bonds because we’re so safe.” The amount available for capital projects is now about $13.2 million.