A recent special meeting of the Monroe Woodbury Board of Education began with a slide show of budget priorities for the 2022-2023 school year.
“We wanted to help the community understand our thinking behind this budget,” said Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez.
The budget includes a 6.8% increase over last year, but the actual tax levy increase will be only 1.9%, said Patrick Cahill, assistant superintendent for instruction. This will be the district’s third year of keeping the budget under the tax cap, which is now 2.51% , he noted in a conversation after the meeting.
Primary sources of added expense include transportation contracts, which were up 32%; health insurance costs, up 14%; and teacher retirement employer contribution costs, up 11%.
Although enrollment is decreasing slightly, plans are afoot to add a high school and middle school dean to improve school environment, as well as faculty to teach business and technology electives. Students in the audience supported the possibility of those electives.
“We are going to be focused on teaching and learning, so it’s important to have people to shepherd the work. There’s a lot of work ahead for us,” said Rodriguez
When electives are lacking, students are assigned to study halls, said Rodriguez. Two sections of two new class electives will be offered, one in business and the other in technology.
The Monroe-Woodbury School District will also offer more summer opportunities to students, as well as expanding their pre-K program and adding an additional site. Much of this program is funded by the state, but because Monroe-Woodbury School District is committed to sustaining early intervention, Rodriguez said, they are willing to pay to continue the program when state funds are inadequate.
“The goal is to really commit to it even after the funding is no longer available to us,” Rodriguez said.
The school district budget and school board vote is Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. at Central Valley Elementary School.