TURNER — For the next several weeks, SAD 52 directors will consider a tentative $24.9 million budget for next year that includes six new teachers, one new administrator and two new bus monitors.

The budget is 7.99% higher than the current year, according to Superintendent Kimberly Brandt, and represents an average 5.14% tax increase to Turner, Leeds and Greene residents.

The board will work line-by-line through the proposal during meetings March 12, 19 and 26 before adopting a final proposed budget April 2. That budget will go before voters in May. It covers district operations from July  1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

“I think they do a really good job of recognizing that we’ve got student academic, social/emotional needs and we’ve got facilities that have got to be clean and safe, and transportation that’s got to be safe,” Brandt said. “They do a really good job of balancing those things.”

Included in the tentative budget:

• A new sixth grade teacher at Turner Elementary School, new fourth and fifth grade teachers at Greene Central School, a new special education teacher at Leeds Central School and two new instructional coaches for Greene and Leeds.

Last year, instructional coaches were added at Turner Primary and Elementary schools and one spot open from a retirement was replaced with an instructional coach at the high school.

“They’re focused on students and student learning and they are working with teachers to support teachers maximizing student learning in the classroom,” Brandt said. “They’re doing phenomenal work, teachers are very much enjoying that support. It’s a thinking partner with them.”

• Expanding two part-time assistant principal roles at Tripp Middle and Greene Central schools to two full-time positions. Currently, one person works three days at Tripp and two days at Greene.

“A lot of school districts are noticing increased needs around student behavior, around trauma-based situations, around mental health needs,” she said. “Part of this is in response to more support for children and for staff.”

• Two new buses to update the bus fleet, a 15-passenger mini-bus able to be driven by a coach, and two bus monitors who would ride on buses chosen based upon student behavior.

• A potential 10% increase in health insurance costs; the final numbers likely won’t be clear until right before, or right after, the budget is set, Brandt said.

Of that 7.99% year-over-year increase, she said regular education represents 2.5%, special education 2%, transportation 1.45% and facilities 1.12%.

As part of the process over the next month, the board will have to decide its approach to three major capital projects: replacing the wastewater treatment plant, addressing playing field issues and a variety of facilities improvements that all together cost more than $6 million.

Some costs could be combined into a bond, some kicked ahead for another year.

“These numbers could shift depending upon what the board decides to do,” Brandt said.

The current early budget includes only first year, interest-only payments on the projects.

“We’re conservative here,” she said. “The board wants to make sure we are very aware of how that will impact the budget going forward.”

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