CCSD’s 2015 budget earmarks more money for staffing

The Clark County School Board gave final approval Wednesday to a $2.2 billion spending plan for 2014-15 that would provide money for more teachers, assistant principals, deans, buses, school support staff and full-day kindergarten classrooms

“This is going to ease the strain,” board member Carolyn Edwards said.

Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said much of the spending increase is due to the planned sale of bonds providing $34.5 million. That money would buy 90 buses, meeting the need of growing student numbers.

The Clark County School District expects a $61 million increase in revenue and plans to eliminate $7 million in contracts with two companies providing lackluster results in the opinion of Skorkowsky, who recommended the contracts not be renewed.

The district also is struggling to replenish the savings in its main operating account as a safety net for a rainy day. The School Board unanimously agreed April 10 to continue waiving its requirement that at least 2 percent of its annual expenses, or $44 million, be left unused for emergencies. The district has only saved half that amount in recent years.

The district does plan to add about $6 million to its savings, reaching $31.9 million, or 1.5 percent of its expenses.

No cost-of-living salary increases are proposed, but administrators, police and licensed workers such as teachers will continue receiving pay raises for seniority in the district and earning professional-development credits.

The approved budget, although final, is based on estimations for the amount of property taxes collected and the number of students in district schools. Less money would come into the district if either of these things comes in under projection.