Last November, residents of the Elizabeth School District voted to approve a $1.59 million mill levy override, replacing an expiring tax for bonded debt with general fund revenue. Superintendent …
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Last November, residents of the Elizabeth School District voted to approve a $1.59 million mill levy override, replacing an expiring tax for bonded debt with general fund revenue. Superintendent Douglas Bissonnette and school board members said the funds would be used to increase teacher pay, safety and social-emotional support for students and increased student technologies.
The board moved quickly on the issue of teacher and support staff compensation, and adopted new salary schedules at the Jan. 28 board meeting.
The majority (86 percent) of the MLO revenue is allocated to increase teacher and support staff compensation. Starting teacher salaries will increase to $34,000, a 16 percent increase. Increases in teacher pay vary, but will increase by a 10 percent minimum, according to a press release sent out by Bissonnette. Support staff will receive a minimum increase of 7.5 percent.
“First of all, we are incredibly grateful to our community for supporting the district’s MLO ballot question in November,” said Bissonnette. “The MLO revenue is being used to address fundamental and enduring needs for our schools and students.”
The district has also entered into an agreement with the Town of Elizabeth to hire a school resource officer who will serve Elizabeth High and Elizabeth Middle School. Bissonette said they hope to have an SRO hired and actively working by Aug. 1.
“The remainder of the MLO proceeds are earmarked for safety and security. We are currently exploring the addition of a district-wide staff member to help teachers and students with social-emotional and behavior-support needs,” said Bissonnette. “We plan to have the details solidified within the next month.”
Money earmarked for technology, approximately $71,000 each year, will be used to buy new laptops and software tools, subscriptions and classroom technology. For the first two years, the majority of the funds, $63,000, will be used to purchase Chromebooks for students’ use. By the second year, every student will have access to a laptop at any time during the school day.
Once the laptops are paid off, the money will be budgeted to support career/technical education, computer-science and STEM initiatives, and other technology-related tools such as virtual reality and robotics, according to Bissonnette.
Legacy Academy, a K-8 charter school at the western edge of Elizabeth, will also benefit from the mill-levy override. “Eighteen percent of the MLO revenue will be passed through to Legacy Academy, as required by law. Legacy Academy leadership is currently finalizing plans for their portion of the MLO. The charter school’s use of MLO funds will closely mirror the district’s use but may not be identical,” said Bissonnette.
The District Accountability Committee (DAC), is charged with overseeing the allocation of MLO revenue, and is made up of parents, community members and staff. For more information, or to volunteer, go online to elizabethschooldistrict.org/domain/109.
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