School budget includes money for pay raises

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
July 28, 2004
A $60.5 million budget the Meridian School Board approved Tuesday night will increase property taxes and include money to fund raises for school principals and Superintendent Sylvia Autry.
But the pay raises will depend on how schools and the district fare on results from standardized tests students took this year. If scores increase, principals and Autry could receive up to an 8 percent raise.
Test scores will be released Aug. 13.
School board members approved the budget by a unanimous vote. The budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 and ends June 30, 2005, funds the annual operating costs for the more than 6,000-student district.
The budget also includes a 2.7 percent increase in property taxes. The tax increase will range from $10 on a $50,000 home to $20 on a $100,000 home and $30 on a $150,000 home.
Board members said the tax increase is necessary to help repay $1.75 million the school district plans to borrow to fund school building repairs.
Autry, who has been superintendent since July 2003, earns $103,000 a year. An 8 percent raise would increase her salary $8,240 to $111,240 a year.
Lauderdale County School Superintendent David Little, who is elected, earns $76,320. The county school board gave Little a 6 percent pay raise when it approved the district's $59.4 million budget earlier this month.
The county school budget also includes 6 percent raises for central office administrators and principals and an 8 percent raise for district support staff. The raises will be funded by a 1.35 percent tax increase.
The county raises are not linked to test scores.
Wile said a proposal to raise Autry's pay could go before the Meridian School Board at its September meeting.
Wile said he believes Autry and Suzanne Smith, the school district's chief financial officer, "have done an outstanding job of providing a budget in tough financial times."

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