BLOOMFIELD —Additional state funds for salary increases and stable projected enrollment has boosted the Bloomfield School District's budget for the upcoming school year.
The district's board of education on Tuesday approved the proposed $23.36 million budget for the 2014-2015 school year. It's an increase of more than 3.5 percent, or $800,000, from this year's budget of $22.56 million.
Gary Giron, the district's director of finance, said he was happy with the financial standings for the upcoming school year.
"I feel very well about the overall health of the district," Giron said. "I think that we are very conservative and thoughtful about how we roll our budget out."
For the 2014-2015 school year, the state's Public Education Department provided about $20.494 million for the district, an increase of $663,000 from the $19.831 million the district received this year. The additional funds will cover the cost of 3 percent salary increases for district employees and educational assistants.
The move comes as next year district staff can expect to see a .75 percent increase for pension payments and a 2.85 percent increase for insurance payments.
In the coming year, about 11 positions will be added across the district, including a physical education teacher at Bloomfield High School and a district special education teacher for visually impaired students.
Despite enrollment numbers dipping in recent years, Giron said enrollment for next year is projected to remain the same, which also helped with the budget increase.
"This is the first time in about a decade that the school district's membership has stayed flat, which is good for us," Giron said, adding that enrollment numbers staying flat makes it easier to understand the district's staffing needs.
The board on Tuesday also approved more than $153,000 in technology purchases for computers in classrooms and server equipment for the district.
Board members approved the purchase of 175 Samsung Chromebooks and associated equipment for $66,714.
The district purchased 328 Chromebooks last year, which gave the district 503 computers to use for classroom instruction and online testing in the elementary schools.
The Chromebooks rely on Google's Chrome browser to access the Internet and use Google services, including Gmail and Google Drive.
The New Mexico Standards Based Assessment exam will be conducted online in the upcoming school year.
Another $86,929 the board approved will purchase nine Dell servers and support equipment to replace aging equipment in the district.