DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham Public Schools Board of Education is asking the county to add $11 million to its budget.
Leaders will find out if the additional funds are adding during Monday night’s budget presentation.
In addition to the $3.5 million from the superintendent’s initial proposal, the board would like $5.8 million to go to restoring principal and teacher positions, as well as teacher retention to help keep them with DPS.
“Teachers are the heartbeat of the district,” said Kimberly Hager, the interim executive director of human resources with DPS. “Without our teachers, we can’t get our day-to-day work done.”
Of the $11 million request, $1.7 million will go to other expansion requests for increasing substitute pay, bus driver incentives and recruiting teachers.
“We live in an area with Wake, Chapel Hill, Orange, it’s very competitive in this area,” said Hager. “Durham wants to put our best foot forward and begin to offer our teachers a beginning teachers program, incentives, traveling, relocation sometimes, but we need to be able to get out into the community.”
The request for bus driver incentives total $200,000.
On any given day, DPS is short about 20 bus drivers.
“We’re using substitutes to run full time routes, office staff to drive,” said Scott Denton, the assistant superintendent for auxiliary services. “We’re constantly piecing together routes and doubling some things out in the field to try to make everything work every given day.”
The money for incentives will go to rewarding bus drivers for their good work getting students to and from school.
“Too many times we overlook our employees and assume that a good job’s being done,” said Denton. “We just want to make it to the next day and try to provide that best low level service. When people do the work, you have to reward the people and recognize the people.”
The $11 million request will come with a tax hike for taxpayers, but school officials say it’s worth the money.
“We’re investing in our future,” said Hager. “It’s for our community, it’s for our children. They deserve to have the best.”
The county manager will present the budget at 7 p.m. at the County Commissioner’s building.