The Sparta school board approved the district’s tentative budget, which calls for general fund expenditures of $71.2 million and a tax levy of $62. 3 million, a 2 percent increase over last year’s.
The budget passed 7-1, with school board member Kurt Morris voting against it. Board member Kim Bragg was absent.
The board authorized the budget to be sent to the executive county superintendent of schools for approval.
The district lost $354,197 in state aid from 2021-22.
Superintendent Matthew Beck said the county executive superintendent will go through the budget and either approve it or send it back for revisions. When it comes back to the district, Beck and business administrator Ronald Smith will present the final budget at a public hearing, before it is adopted.
Beck said the budget provides for four additional certified staff members, and will pay for various projects with $2.3 million withdrawn from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund.
Morris questioned the wisdom of earmarking $250,000 to renovate the faculty bathroom at Alpine Elementary while a planned feasibility will look at replacing the school.
Beck said expanding the women’s bathroom and refurbishing the men’s bathroom have been discussed over the last several budgets.
Spending that much money to renovate a bathroom in a school that may be replaced seems wasteful, Morris said.
“If it’s ever decided that we would build a new elementary school, we’re talking years down the road,” Beck said. “They’ve been limping along with just the one female bathroom at Alpine.”
Beck said he will have the numbers for how much the increase will cost township taxpayers at the next meeting.
He said he was still waiting on numbers from the township.