No raises planned for Aberdeen school district — for now

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – Aberdeen’s preliminary budget does not include a salary increase for teachers and staff.

Finance Officer Tom Janish presented his preliminary budget to the Aberdeen Public Board of Education on Monday. In a phone interview before the meeting, Janish said state officials did approve a budget with a 2% funding increase.

“With everything happening with the coronavirus and the economy, we’ve heard a lot of rumblings that that will go away,” he said.

That could happen if a special legislative session is called to amend the state’s budget.

Janish said all employee groups agreed to a zero percent increase with the understanding that if the final funding increase for schools is 1% or 2%, pay will be adjusted accordingly.

The budget also includes a 5% increase in health insurance — that means a 5% increase in the district and employee contributions.

The district’s total general fund budget is $30 million, of which payroll is 80%. The district’s capital outlay budget is $7.5 million, used for building improvements and capital purchases. The special education budget is $9 million.

The district intentionally includes some deficit spending of $300,000 to spend down its fund balances, Janish said. Those fund balances account for about 17% of annual expenses. The state’s limit is 25%

Janish said there have been some savings in the current budget while students have learned from home, primarily because students aren’t being bused to activities and athletic events.

Janish will present his detailed budget to the school board in July.