If you want your voice heard on the Wichita school district budget, Monday night is your chance.
At its regular board meeting at North High School, the school board will hold a public hearing on its proposed $628 million budget just before voting to approve it.
The 2012-13 budget is about $22 million more than last years, thanks to a boost in state per-pupil funding. It keeps the local property tax rate flat and includes the first raise for district employees in four years.
The budget presumes no enrollment changes for Wichita the states largest school district, with more than 50,000 students but officials have said enrollment could increase.
It calls for adding four dozen teachers, most targeted to special-education and bilingual students and some to five new schools that opened this fall as part of the 2008 bond issue.
Along with higher employee salaries a significant portion of the added spending the district expects to pay more for utilities and fuel in the coming year.
In addition to discussing the budget, school board members will:
• Consider two proposals to redraw school board district lines to ensure equal representation at the ballot box.
One plan would move 11 board precincts, affecting about 15,850 residents; the other would put a high school in each voting district, shifting 18 precincts and affecting nearly 28,900 residents. Currently District 2 does not have a high school within its voting district.
• Consider a new recruitment strategy to find teachers for hard-to-fill subject areas such as math, science and special education. The measure would allow district recruiters to offer open contracts to teachers up to $50,000 a year in other parts of the country, subject to background checks and other safeguards.
• Vote on a plan to buy two properties one near Riverside Elementary and another near Gardiner Elementary to make room for bond projects at those schools.
The district would buy a house at 1031 N. Porter, near Riverside, for $191,228; it would buy a house at 1901 S. Laura, near Gardiner, for $77,500. Both deals include closing costs and state-mandated moving costs.