The Governing Board of the Parker Unified School District has approved the publication of the district’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018-19. The proposed $15.8 million budget includes an average teacher pay increase of 10 percent. The budget is an increase over last year’s $13.7 million budget.

The approval came at the board’s annual review and planning meeting held June 19 at Parker High School.

The budget does not call for a primary property tax rate due to the district receiving Federal Impact Aid.

The budget includes $12.7 million for maintenance and operations, $1.4 million in unrestricted capital funds, and $1.64 million in federal projects not covered by Impact Aid.

In his remarks about the budget, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Brad Sale said the legislature was able to increase the overall pupil amount by 1.8 percent. Gov. Doug Ducey pressed the legislature to increase this even more. Sale credited this to the “Red for Ed” movement.

The legislature increased the funding per weighted pupil by $66.30, and the governor’s efforts added an additional $210.50 per weighted pupil. He added the language in the legislation made it clear this was to increase teacher salaries. Sale said this meant they would be able to increase teacher salaries by an average of $4,400 per year.

“We will look for approval of this amount onto the salary schedule in July,” Sale said in prepared remarks. “By approving this recommendation, it will allow PUSD to hire and retain the best teachers available during this teacher shortage.”

Sale said school employees who are not teachers will also receive a pay increase, and they will use Direct Additional Assistance from the state to pay for those increases.

Sale said Direct Additional Assistance will be cut 65 percent in the coming fiscal year, which is a smaller cut than the 88 percent they saw in the current fiscal year. DAA will decline from $886,628 to $310,319.

The Needles Unified School District will be paying the Parker school district for their students in Big River. The total tuition estimate is $847,209 for these California students to attend Parker schools.

High school students from Big River have long attended Parker High School. Kindergarten through 8th grade students are attending schools in Parker due to long-term delays in opening the new Monument Peak School in Big River. The school, which has yet to open, was completed in 2010.

PUSD Board President Randy Hartless has referred to tuition from the Needles school district as “the gift that keeps on giving.”

As for property taxes, Sale estimated the secondary tax rate to pay for the 2015 budget override at 1.252 for $100 of net assessed value. The County Board of Supervisors will officially set the tax rate in August.

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