FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield-Suisun school board agreed on four main budget priorities Thursday for the 2013-14 school year, with a boost in employee compensation topping the list.
The decisions came after an extensive discussion during a budget workshop.
As each board member listed his or her priorities. Four topics rose to the top of the list. The board handed them off to the district administration to research and come back with dollar figures attached.
Every board member said employee compensation needed to become a priority as the district moved into the newly approved local control funding formula introduced when the state budget became law last month.
In her opening presentation of the administration’s goals for the year, Chief Business Officer Kelly Morgan said the district’s employees have gone since 2007-08 without a raise, while the cost of living has shot up 15 percent and the employees’ health insurance costs have jumped nearly 32 percent.
“They have gone many years with compensation not changing,” Morgan said.
With the full board’s support, employee compensation shot to the top of the priority list.
Perhaps garnering the most discussion was the issue of providing more counselors for the high schools.
“We have students who are graduating, and they don’t have a clue what direction to go in,” board member Pat Shamansky said.
Keeping students on the correct path, both academically and behaviorally, needs to be a priority, the board members decided, indication that bringing in more counselors could help keep students on track.
“There’s nothing worse than when a student reaches senior year and finds out he or she doesn’t have the required credits to graduate,” board member Kathy Marianno said.
Also on the list for further research was looking at reintroducing PE and visual performing arts specialists in the elementary schools.
Board members also agreed that maintenance is a major issue. Deferred maintenance projects from previous years and possibly adding to the depleted custodial staff were discussed.
Board President Perry Polk said the administration will bring the priorities back, with cost estimates, as soon as the next regular board meeting, scheduled Sept. 12.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.