A new look for school district’s budgetFarmington School District officials found themselves in an unusual situation as they put together a budget for the coming school year. For the first time in several years they could talk about adding positions rather than making cuts
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Farmington School District officials found themselves in an unusual situation as they put together a budget for the coming school year. For the first time in several years they could talk about adding positions rather than making cuts.
The district’s proposed budget for the 2008-09 financial year includes $50.52 million in revenues, up from $45.91 million for 2007-08. There is $48.6 million in expenditures, up from $45.05 million last year.
Superintendent Brad Meeks said the district is able to consider additions to the budget this year because voters approved a $31 million levy last November.
“We’ve spent ... a lot of time cutting and reducing,” Meeks said. “It is a different year. It feels strange in some respects. We feel very fortunate ... not to have to make those cuts.”
Maybe the biggest addition in the proposed budget, at least from the standpoint of district organization, is a new assistant superintendent in charge of education services. Current Farmington Middle School West principal Christine Weymouth has already been identified to fill the position.
The new assistant superintendent will oversee curriculum and instruction, staff development, community education, special education and building principals. Meeks said the district has grown enough in recent years that such a position makes sense.
“I think my first three years in the district we added 50 teachers a year,” Meeks said. “It starts to spread very thin. I think we’re to the point where it makes sense to bring someone in now.”
Also in the proposed budget is an instructional technology specialist who will work with classroom teachers on making effective use of technology in their day-to-day lessons. The technology specialist will also help the identify new educational technology and determine whether it has value for the district classrooms.
District teachers currently have opportunities to attend classes on new technologies, but communication specialist Aaron Tinklenberg said the goal with the new technology specialist is to bring that instruction to more people.
Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of life in classrooms. Standardized tests are more and more being given on computers, and smart boards, a kind of interactive blackboard, are popping up around the district. ISD 192 currently has smart boards in several elementary school classrooms and in two rooms at Farmington Middle School West.
“The technology changes so quickly,” Meeks said. “There’s just so much stuff out there. I think (this position) will help us as a district make wiser investments.”
District 192 School Board members reviewed the proposed budget at a special workshop meeting April 10. They will not take any action on it until later.