Tuscaloosa County School Board takes first look at 2023 budget

If the Tuscaloosa County School Board OKs the current iteration of its fiscal year 2023 budget, teachers can expect raises and students will be getting some new school buses.

Tuscaloosa County School System Chief Financial Officer Danny Higdon said the $252.3 million budget isn’t a done deal because the system is also expecting funding from federal programs.

TCSS serves more than 18,000 students within 19 elementary schools, two primary schools, eight middle schools, six high schools and a center for gifted and physically disabled children around Tuscaloosa County.

But some of the major proposals include a minimum 4% pay increase for all employees and an increase in standard step raises.

“You saw significant increases for teachers starting mainly on Step 9, which is 10 years of experience,” Higdon said. “They also added additional steps that used to stop at 27 years and now it stops at 35.”

Other potential budget purchases include:

  • Just over $1 million for student materials and supplies
  • $1.3 million for textbooks
  • 36 new school buses
    • 3 special needs buses
    • 33 full-sized buses

TCSS Transportation Director Donna Christian said it’s a great time to upgrade buses because ridership is up, with 12,454 students registered this year.

Once buses have reached the 10-year mark, it’s time for replacement, Christian said.

“It keeps younger buses on the roads for our maintenance and our breakdown is less, so it always excites us to get new buses,” said Christian.

TCSS’ next budget meeting is Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. at Hillcrest High School, and the public is invited.

Fiscal years begin Oct. 1 and end Sept. 30, meaning the budget must be complete before the end of September.

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