Huntsville City School Board Approves Nearly $202 Million Budget for FY 2014

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Huntsville City School board wrapped Thursday's meeting by approving a more than $200 millionĀ  budget for fiscal year 2014.

The budget, at $201,986,167 is larger than the budget for the current school year, but district leaders say it could end up saving the district money in the long term.

Superintendent Casey Wardysnki says it is a strong budget.

"We're in a good financial position. We're looking out a year, two years, we're in a very strong position," said Wardynski.

Wardynski says the budget allows the district to expand educational opportunities for students, and increase pay for teachers.

"That's allowing us to do a few things: adding a substantial amount of money to our STEM, program, adding substantially to our supplements we pay to teachers, like coaches, and adding areas where we can do those supplements like academic competitions and career readiness," said Wardynski.

The budget also allows the district to put an additional $700,000 toward Pre-K education, and Head Start programs,, bringing total funding for pre-k education around $3 million. With more than 900 children enrolled in Pre-K throughout the district, it is a move board members believe will ensure the district's financial health, and student's academic success for years to come

"You're talking about over half of the graduating class getting this extra intervention early on, and it'll save us money in the long run because we won't be doing remediation on the back-end," said board member David Blair. "This is a huge game changer. Unfortunately it won't change it tomorrow, but in 10 years this will be a huge difference."

The board must submit their budget by September 15th.

The board also voted to submit a waiver to the state, requesting flexibility to choose where state funds are spent within the district.