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Schools could get more money from state

The Suffolk Public School division will receive an additional $550,559 from the state if City Council approves the appropriation of funds.

“The state came back and got us a budget and gave us numbers,” Executive Director of Finance Wendy Forsman told School Board members during their Thursday meeting. “The result of that is that they increased supplemental lottery per-pupil allocation by $550,559.”

The state’s budget also raised the percentage of average raises across all state-mandated positions from 2.5 percent to 3 percent as of July 1, 2019.

“That money is not guaranteed. The money is contingent on stable general fund revenue,” Forsman said. “We will not know until the revenue forecast until December 2019.”

The state works a budget across the biennium, 2018 to 2020, but the state cannot guarantee the money until they provide a revenue forecast in December 2019, Forsman explained.

The additional funding will allow the school division to fund salaries for 24 full-time safety monitors. There will be two additional at each high school, which will provide a total of three at the high schools. One safety monitor will be added to each middle and elementary school, Turlington Woods and the College and Career Academy at Pruden.

“We said if we received additional funding, we would put it towards safety, because we want a person there at the start and the end of the school day,” said Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney. “This is dedicated to the safety issues within our schools.”

The new safety monitors will have specific training, and Dr. Suzanne Rice is working with the U.S. Department of Justice for the specific training.

The state has provided the money in the new budget, but the School Board must send a request to the city manager and City Council to appropriate the funds.