MEXICO – Development of the 2008-2009 budget is expected to begin Thursday when the Region 9 School of Applied Technology Finance Committee gathers for the first time.

Region 9 Director Brenda Gammon said she expects voters in the 16-town region will face a budget proposal at least 20 percent higher than this year’s $1.37 million.

The steep increase is result of adding two vocational programs made possible by the $4.9 million renovation and building project that’s under way.

Gammon said instructors will be hired to teach early childhood development and automotive technology. An educational technician already in place for one of the region’s other vocational programs will likely help out the new offerings.

The first payment on the loan will also be due during the 2008-2009 budget year, and Gammon said a full-time custodian may also be added to the staffing.

Salary increases for staff are also expected to climb. Instructors at Region 9 generally receive a salary increase that averages the pay raises given by the three member school districts.

She expects to present a tentative budget proposal to the Finance Committee at its 2 p.m. meeting. From there, the committee and full board will work on the figure to bring it down prior to a public vote expected in May.

She expects to bring a tentative adult and community education budget to the Finance Committee meeting as well. Last year’s adult education budget was $255,000.

The Program Committee is also scheduled to meet Thursday when its members will discuss the two new vocational programs. That meeting begins at 8:30 a.m.

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