BCSC looking at 2 percent budget increase

The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is working on a $115 million budget for 2018, a 2 percent increase over this year due primarily to employee raises.

School board members learned in a work session Monday that the budget is expected to rise from $112,641,083 this year to $115,094,005 in 2018. The capital projects fund is projected to go up 5.77 percent next year, with much of that money dedicated to building maintenance needs and other improvements, said Chad Phillips, BCSC assistant superintendent for financial services.

Phillips also said he anticipates the district’s tax rate will remain flat and also noted that employee raises are planned across the district. However, the exact amount is still yet to be determined as teacher contract negotiations are set to formally begin Friday, Phillips said.

The district has had informal talks involving teacher contracts, but the state requires formal discussions to begin Friday, said Jim Roberts, BCSC superintendent. The district will have until Nov. 15 to settle contracts, he said.

“We will look at a possibility of a one- or two-year contract,” Roberts said.

Teachers received a 2.5 percent raise in 2016 and another 2 percent salary increase this year, but how much will be awarded in the future won’t be determined until after contract talks conclude, Phillips said.

Of the district’s $115 million budget, $75 million will come from the state while the local portion is collected through property taxes. Some of the district’s debt will come off the books next year, including the district’s pension bond, allowing money to be used in other areas within its budget, Phillip said.

The district has proposed $6.1 million in spending for its transportation fund, which reflects a 2.41 percent increase from 2017 and includes the hiring of five pre-kindergarten bus monitors. Officials also plan to replace up to eight buses projected to cost $1.4 million as part of an annual bus replacement plan within its fleet.

What's next

A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Clifty Creek Elementary School for individuals who wish to comment on the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. 2018 budget.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com