The North Judson-San Pierre School Board last night approved a bare-bones budget for 2016. The $8 million general fund spending plan is down about $2.5 million from just a few years ago due to declining enrollment and changes in the way the state funds schools. General fund dollars are mainly used to pay teacher salaries and cover the cost of programs.
The corporation is asking voters who live within the N.J.-S.P. school district to support a general fund referendum in November to make up the shortfall. Without it they say additional, painful cuts to programs and services will be necessary.
School board members also approved capital projects and bus replacement plans as part of the overall budget. Business manager and treasurer Guy Richie says the capital projects plan is very similar to what has been done in the past two to three years. The corporation is scheduled to replace two buses in 2016.
The board also approved a teacher contract through June 30, 2017. Salaries are frozen, and professional development will only be offered if grant funds are available to cover the cost. Superintendent Lynn Johnson notes the contract can be reopened for language and salary negotiations if both sides agree to do so.