Kannapolis city school board talks budget
KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis City Board of Education wants to hire seven new teachers and increase supplements for those who have been around a while, members said Wednesday.
The board held a budget workshop Wednesday afternoon to discuss its top priorities and requests for the coming fiscal year.
Will Crabtree, director of business operations and transportation, said the school system doesn’t yet have a clear picture of its budget. The state, Rowan County or Cabarrus County — or all three — may decide to change funding to Kannapolis City Schools.
“We want to talk to you, talk to all of (the schools), know what we need, know what we’d like and know all of our priorities,” Crabtree said. “Then we’ll look at the money we have.”
He said the budget must be submitted by the end of March.
“This is like building a house without a blueprint,” said board member Millie Hall.
Crabtree smiled and replied, “It is, and we do it every year.”
In response, Crabtree presented proposed changes Wednesday to the system’s teacher supplemental salary model.
Under the current model, teachers get a $100 increase in their supplements for every three years with the system, up to 12 years. Teachers with advanced degrees receive $1,600 to $2,000 per month, and for teachers with master’s degrees, the range is $1,800 to $2,200 per month.
But there are no increases for teachers with more than a dozen years in the system.
The new model would change that. It would modify the current 12+ tier to 12-19 years, and it would add two more steps for 20-24 and 25-31+ years.
That would raise the maximum supplements to $2,200 for advanced degree holders and $2,400 for those with master’s degrees.
“We had to be real careful what we did on the upper side, because there’s a large number of teachers we’ll have to pay that to,” Crabtree said. “It could really put a strain on the budget.”
To determine the tiers and the dollar amounts, Crabtree said he consulted supplement models in both Cabarrus and Rowan counties.
Cabarrus County’s supplements range from $1,752 to $2,376 for advanced degree holders and from $1,996 to $2,638 on the master’s degree side.
“I don’t feel we could sustain going to the Cabarrus model financially at this point,” Crabtree said. “I tried to get in the middle of what they had and what we had.”
Rowan’s supplements are even higher, ranging from $2,000 to $2,500 for teachers with advanced degrees and more for master’s degree holders.
Board member Doris Buchanan said she’s glad that the proposal would offer more to those who have been teaching for a long time.
“It just bothered me that it stopped at 12 years and was stagnant until 30,” she said.
Denita Rickard and Todd Adams asked if Crabtree is sure that the system can’t afford to match Cabarrus’ numbers.
He said he’ll need to run some calculations again.
“From what I’m hearing from you, you wouldn’t mind seeing it a little higher, if dollar figures allow it,” he said.
Yes, Adams said, “if you think those dollars are sustainable, not just this year.”
“We try to come up with about four to five priorities each year to present in the expansion budget,” Crabtree said. “This year, there was a heavy emphasis on teachers.”
The leadership team of school principals ended up with seven teacher requests in five areas of focus, he said.
He said three of those teachers would be in the field of physical education and health, two would be AIG, one would be STEM and one would be ACT/English.
During the meeting, Adams asked if there were many current expense requests for teacher assistants and other instructional support.
“I did expect that to be the request this year,” Crabtree said. “I was surprised that when it was brought up for discussion, they said they would rather have the teaching positions.”
Cain said the schools are allowed some flexibility in how they use teacher assistants, and the system makes sure they are available for all kindergarten and first grade classes.
She said that may be why there isn’t an urgent need for more support staff.
“I think teachers should always be the top priority, anyway,” Buchanan said.
Requested maintenance and building items include:
• Replacement of outside double doors and improvement of the locking system at Jackson Park Elementary School.
• Redesign of the entranceway at Fred L. Wilson Elementary School, to ensure visitors will enter the building through the office and do not have access onto the school grounds.
• Replacement of the current fire alarm system at Forest Park Elementary School.
Requested capital outlay and technology items include:
• 24 iPads with cart for Forest Park Elementary School.
• About 30 to 40 Dell E5520 laptops for A.L. Brown High School. These would be used for research in the media center, online testing and replacement of outdated teachers’ laptops.
• Three iPad carts with 25 iPads each for Kannapolis Middle School.
Requested grounds items include:
• Increased lighting around the building and on the playground at Fred L. Wilson Elementary School.
• Expansion of the kindergarten playground at Forest Park Elementary School.
• Expansion of the irrigation system and pump repair at Kannapolis Middle School.Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.