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School budget calls for 6-percent increase

In his first budget as Suffolk Public Schools superintendent, Dr. John B. Gordon III has called for a 6-percent increase in funding, prioritizing raises and pay scale adjustments for teachers and staff while adding 41 positions in a nearly $183 million proposed budget.

The budget proposed for the next fiscal year is an increase of more than $10 million overall, and includes an increase of $4.8 million from the state, and a $5 million increase from the city.

Gordon said the biggest piece of the budget is improving the overall learning experience.

“Our greatest impact is going to be what we are doing in the classroom,” Gordon said about the budget.

Starting teacher pay would increase from $43,155 to $46,000 per year with a new pay scale. There would also be a new bus driver’s scale, with a starting hourly rate increasing from $12.80 to $14.60.

“We think changing the pay is going to be a game-changer for us,” Gordon said of the bus driver pay.

Support staff would receive a cost-of-living raise of 3 percent, and permanent part time staff would get a 1.5-percent cost of living increase.

Gordon also wants to add nine additional teachers to ease overcrowded classrooms and 41 positions overall, including seven full-time custodians and 7.8 permanent part-time custodians.

There would also be a streamlining and restructuring of the administrative office, adding three positions while shifting others.

Gordon said the money in the proposed budget is what the division needs to move it forward and take it to the next level. The items in the budget are not wants, but needs, he said, and it tried to incorporate the concerns of stakeholders and the community.

School Board members expressed their support for the budget.

Keep watching the Suffolk News-Herald for more budget coverage.