A general fund budget of $59,421,266 for 2021-22 was adopted by the Pioneer Board of Education at its April 20 regular meeting.
The budget calls for a spending increase of 1.38 percent and a property tax levy increase of 1.32 percent.
Assistant Superintendent Nick Silvaroli said the district made out favorably both in the one-time federal stimulus allocation and in securing additional aid from the state budget adopted April 7.
Two federal grants totaling $10.25 million for Pioneer can be used for non-recurring expenses, and can cover preventing/responding to COVID-19, addressing learning loss, preparing schools for reopening, and projects to improve air quality in schools.
Mr. Silvaroli said the final education budget approved by the state brings an additional $382,000 in state aid, which means that same amount can be reapplied to Pioneer's assigned fund balance or 'savings account.' That balance will return to 2019-20 levels.
He said the budget as proposed maintains the following programs and services:
- UPK, Finance Academy, Ag Program, Project Lead the Way, Career Tech, foreign language, music, athletics, Center for Positive Solutions, and other elective courses
- Preserves building discretionary budgets
- Extraclassroom and afterschool activities
Additions to the 2021-22 budget:
- A 1.0 FTE Special Education Teacher for elementary autism class
- Transportation for summer instructional services
- Full funding of the capital outlay budget line
- Increased the technology equipment replacement budget by $15,000
A review of the budget is scheduled as part of the next board meeting May 4 at 5:30 p.m. Two candidates running for two seats on the Board of Education will also be introduced that evening, Wendy Warner Regan and incumbent Angela Wiseman. Voters go to the polls May 18 to decide on the budget and the board election.
In other news, the board approved the amended and extended collective bargaining agreement with the Pioneer Faculty Association from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. The board also approved capital improvement bids totaling $16.70 million for projects starting Summer 2021.
The board approved the provisional appointment of Heidi Miles to the position of Food Service Department Director, effective April 21. Mrs. Miles takes over for Catherine Pritchard, who retired after 18 years in the post.