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Fayette Co. Board of Education approves $579.9 million budget

(WOWT)
Published: May. 20, 2019 at 10:22 PM EDT
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The Fayette County Board of Education approved a $579.9 million general fund budget Monday night.

Board members say it includes significant investments to ensure that a student’s demography does not determine their future.

“Developing a school district budget goes beyond juggling numbers to balance revenue and expenses,” said Superintendent Manny Caulk. “The budget is a reflection of our community’s hopes, dreams, and values about the future, about our children and the possibility of a better tomorrow. Our budget for 2019-2020 invests in our children and our employees.”

The budget fully funds the turnaround plans approved by the school board last month for the seven Fayette County elementary schools targeted by the state for Comprehensive Support and Improvement.

Five schools will offer Acceleration Learning Labs to extend the learning time for students who need it by providing evidence-based programs proven to boost student achievement afterschool.

Two schools – Harrison and William Wells Brown elementary schools – will pilot longer school days and a more extended school year in a model dubbed “promise academies.”

Changes to state pension requirements will increase the district’s employer match in the classified retirement system by an additional $1.5 million. Rising utility fees are expected to cost an additional $1.3 million.

The budget also includes $2.9 million to pay for raises for employees eligible for step increases based on education and years of service.

“These investments maintain Fayette County’s market competitiveness when compared with surrounding counties and municipalities,” Caulk said.

Other highlights of the 2019-20 tentative budget:

  • Hiring more teachers to serve students with special needs, students whose home language is not English, and students who have been identified as gifted and talented.
  • Purchasing a comprehensive science curriculum for elementary and middle schools.
  • Adding costs for a 37th elementary school when Brenda Cowan Elementary School opens in the fall of 2019.
  • Growing mentoring programs and other proven strategies to support the success of boys of color previously supported by a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
  • Continuing efforts to reimagine the district’s middle schools, and transform its high schools in partnership with Commerce Lexington.
  • Strengthening school climate culture by hiring additional Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) coaches to work specifically with middle and high schools to ensure consistent adoption and provide embedded professional learning and increasing the number of individuals trained in the restorative practices.

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