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ROGERS -- Teachers will receive a $1,000 bonus under the 2017-18 budget the School Board approved Tuesday.

The budget calls for spending $137 million, a 2 percent increase over the $134.3 million the School District spent in the 2016-17 academic year.

Salaries: How they compare

For Northwest Arkansas’ five biggest school districts, here are the 2017-18 starting salaries for teachers with only a bachelor’s degree.

Springdale: $47,266

Fayetteville: $45,310

Rogers: $44,750

Bentonville: $44,708

Siloam Springs: $40,000

Source: Staff report

Operating revenue is projected at $60,000 more than expenditures. That would leave the operating fund balance at $21.6 million, about 15.7 percent of the operating budget, at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

All employees will receive some sort of bonus. Teachers and administrators will get $1,000 bonuses. Classified staff members -- such as bus drivers, social workers and clerical workers -- will receive a percentage of $1,000 in proportion to how much they make compared to a first-year teacher, or $44,750. Their bonuses will not exceed $1,000.

The district has 2,068 employees. The bonuses will cost the district about $2.1 million, according to chief financial officer Jake Haak.

"I do feel like, based on the revenues and based on what we've seen, we can afford it," Haak said.

The district preferred to hand out bonuses this year because raises, once applied to the salary schedule, would have to be permanent. Bonuses reward staff members for their hard work while allowing the district to maintain some flexibility financially, Haak said.

Two years ago, the district gave $500 bonuses, then transferred those bonuses into the salary schedule last year, Haak said.

Superintendent Marlin Berry said he likes the job Haak and his staff did with the budget.

"It's a somewhat conservative, but very responsible budget that looks at more than one year. It looks down the road a bit," Berry said.

He added he likes the inclusion of bonus payments for staff.

"I think it's important we stay competitive so we can recruit and retain top-notch staff members," Berry said.

Berry reiterated this is only a budget, not actual expenditures. Last school year, the district spent $5.3 million less and received $3.6 million more than what had been outlined in the 2016-17 budget, Haak said.

About 80 percent of the district's budget goes toward employee salaries and benefits.

The district plans to spend about $12.1 million from its building fund this year, $5.5 million of which is earmarked for construction of the 16th elementary school. The money also will be used on roof and parking lot repair, painting, fencing, floors, doors and windows. The district expects to end the fiscal year with $18.7 million in its building fund.

NW News on 09/20/2017

Print Headline: Budget includes bonuses for Rogers school employees

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