Sparta approves school budget with 2 percent increase

Sparta. Superintendent says this “good news budget” will not reduce staff while starting a mental health wellness program for all grades and investing in professional development and facilities

Sparta /
| 25 Mar 2021 | 03:24

The Sparta school board on March 18 unanimously approved the tentative budget for 2021-22 and sent it to the county executive superintendent for approval.

The public hearing on the district’s $69.5 million spending plan is scheduled for Thursday, April 29, at Sparta High School. The budget carries a tax levy of $61.1 million, a 2 percent levy increase over 2020-21.

The district also lost $217,369 in state aid while health benefits increased by 4.9 percent. Salaries, the largest chunk of the budget, increased by 2.4 percent.

The district lowered its facilities and buildings and grounds budget by 3.1 percent and transportation by 2 percent.

“It’s a good-news budget,” said interim superintendent Patrick McQueeney. “We’re excited – in these times and despite the loss of state aid – that we have talented individuals who have worked very hard since November to put together this budget.”

Despite the reduction of state aid, the district will not reduce staff in 2021-22. In addition, McQueeney said, the district will make a substantial investment in professional development and start a mental health wellness program for all grades. The budget also calls for a continued investment in the district’s facilities, he said.

“That was all done within the confines of the budget and a 2 percent tax levy increase,” McQueeney said.