Superintendent Eileen Shafer presented the school board with a list of proposed items she would like to fund with $5.1 million the district received in emergency aid from the state.
Shafer’s plan includes hiring of 28 staff members for $2.7 million. 23 teachers (among them 3 music and 4 art teachers), 2 nurses, 2 instructional assistants, and a substance abuse counselor.
Her plan also seeks $2.4 million for other expenditures. $400,000 for science labs, $800,000 for middle school math textbook plan, $32,000 for a dental clinic at Madison Community Center, $975,029 for employee health benefits, and $200,000 for handwriting resources.
School board members debated the plan last Wednesday.
School board president Oshin Castillo said much of the board agreed on upgrading the science labs. However, some disagreed on hiring new staff members so far into the academic year.
School board vice president Nakima Redmon said a lot of her colleagues were wary of hiring teachers in middle of the school year. New hires might receive pink slips in the spring.
“We don’t have the money to keep them,” said Redmon. School officials disclosed an almost $64 million budget shortfall in the 2020-21 school year budget.
School board member Emanuel Capers said he wanted funds directed towards improving facilities in the district.
Last spring, the district laid off 128 employees, including 88 teachers, due to a budget shortfall. This led to 1,005 classes in the district with 30 or more students.
Castillo said the superintendent is expected to present her revised spending plan for the $5.1 million at the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday for further discussion.