School board approves tentative budget, superintendent evaluation

The Christian County School Board approved a tentative budget for fiscal year 2018-19 at Thursday’s meeting and approved the superintendent’s evaluation.

The $79.1 million tentative budget is the second version with the third and final version, the working budget, to be presented in September. Director of Business Jessica Darnell says the budget includes freezing the STEP increases, which are raises that teachers receive each year. She says the freeze, along with the recent salary reductions, will make the budget a “break even” plan due to decreases in SEEK funding to the district and other factors.

Although the state legislature increased SEEK funding to $4,000 per student this past session, the way the formula is generated across the state resulted in a decrease for Christian County, according to Darnell. A hefty chunk of the budget goes towards instruction—50 percent—with the other largest amounts going to transportation, maintenance and student support programs.

The board approved the budget with Tom Bell casting the only ‘no’ vote, saying that the school system needs to remain attractive to hire future teachers and he could not approve the freeze on the pay increase.

In other action, the board approved the superintendent evaluation, where they gave Gemmill exemplary or accomplished ratings in all seven categories, and exemplary overall.

Chair Linda Keller says Gemmill has not received a raise in her six years with the district, although she feels Gemmill deserves that and more for her efforts.