The DeSoto County School District’s Board of Education has started its annual process of setting a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, starting in July.
The Board heard the district’s budget proposal during its meeting Thursday afternoon at the Central Services building in Hernando. Among the highlights of what the district is proposing for the coming school year are the following:
- Total millage (same as last year) – 52.85
- No millage increase
- Total budget expenditures for FY24: $510,584,359
- $600 increase to the local teaching supplement (local investment)
- $600 increase to the teacher assistant pay scale (local investment)
- Every school will have a school resource officer for the 2023-2024 school year
- Every school will have a nurse for the 2023-2024 school year
In comments on the budget proposal from DCS Supt. Cory Uselton, he said the board is excited about being able to shift more money toward schools. Uselton said the district is also committed to maintaining a presence of school nurses and school resource officers in each of the district campuses.
“We hired nurses in the summer of 2020 for every elementary school, middle school, and high school,” Uselton said. “We plan to keep a nurse on every campus for the 2023-2024 school year.”
Uselton pointed out that DCS started budgeting money in 2018 to assist local and county governments in funding school resource officers.
“We started out with a total of $375,000,” Uselton explained. “For the 2023-2024 school year, we are budgeting over $3 million to go to our municipalities and county government to assist with School Resource Officer coverage. We will have a School Resource Officer at every elementary school, middle school, and high school.”
Salaries have increased at both the local and state level for teachers in recent years and that will continue at the local level with a $600 increase in salary for teachers and teacher assistants in the local supplement possible.
“All of our teachers will now receive at least $5,600 per year from our school district’s teaching supplement,” Uselton said. “This is the highest teaching supplement in the history of our school district. We are now allocating over $17 million per year to go toward the local teaching supplement. Over the last five years, we have been able to increase that allocation by approximately $8 million. This is strictly from the local level.”
Conservative spending and budgeting are making it possible for DCS to make the increases possible without increasing the millage demands.
“Our board members and I will continue to budget appropriately so we can continue to increase our local teaching supplement moving forward,” Uselton said.
Board members must approve a new budget before the next fiscal year begins on July 1.