Carroll school officials add $250,000 to budget estimate

SOUTHLAKE -- Carroll school district officials expect to add up to $250,000 to the proposed budget for the upcoming school year to pay for teacher raises.

If approved by trustees, the extra expense would bring to $2.3 million the projected shortfall in the preliminary $83.5 million fiscal 2010-11 budget. A public meeting and board vote on the budget are scheduled for Aug. 16.

The pay increases stem from a Texas attorney general's opinion that said some school districts are required to give pay raises based on years of experience. Attorney General Greg Abbott said last month that school districts that had a salary schedule in place in 2008-09 must pay regular "step" increases to teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and speech pathologists in 2010-11.

But Carroll officials are still studying the opinion because certain categories of employees are not included on the school district's salary schedule.

But administrators said Monday that they are still working to interpret the ruling and that it would affect the bottom line. They plan to take more information to trustees in the future.

"Based on the attorney general's opinion, we are budgeting to give every eligible employee the step increase," Superintendent David Faltys said. "There are certain categories of employees that are not included on a step increase schedule. We plugged in a placeholder number of $250,000."

Trustees agreed Monday to schedule an Aug.16 public hearing and budget vote.

In other business, trustees agreed to the first lunch price increase in five years, bringing costs from $2.15 per meal for elementary students and $2.40 for intermediate students to $2.50 per meal for both levels. Prices for older grades won't change, said Mary Brunig, Carroll's child nutrition services department director.

JESSAMY BROWN, 817-390-7326