PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Several members of the Providence School Board want the Elorza administration to increase the city’s contribution to the school department by at least $10 million, after five consecutive years of level funding.

That would not include funding for all high school students who live at least two miles from school to receive free bus passes or about $2.5 million in capital improvements, including significant technology upgrades across the city.

The School Board’s Finance Committee agreed Monday to ask the full board to submit to the mayor an unbalanced budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to reflect the need for city to raise its annual $124.9-million allocation to the school department for the first time since 2011. The district also expects to receive about $221.5 million in state aid.

“If we show no need, it’s never going to be considered,” Nina Pande, the School Board Finance Committee chairwoman, said. Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi told the committee it should characterize the projected $10 million gap in the school budget as a “request for additional revenue.”

The question the board is grappling with is whether the $10 million request is enough.

Board members are projecting the school department’s overall spending to grow from $346.2 million during the current fiscal year to $363 million next year, with nearly $11 million of that increase going toward benefit increases, contractual step increases for teachers and charter school payments.

That projection also anticipates no wage increase for teachers in a new union contract, something board members said they consider unlikely. City teachers have been working without a new contract since September after the union overwhelmingly rejected a pact negotiated by former Mayor Angel Taveras. The city and the union are currently involved in mediation discussions.

School officials told the board they’ve narrowed a projected $34.7 million budget gap down to the projected $10 million by declining to hire for 45 positions and cutting funding for certain supplies, technology upgrades and bus passes. High school students who live at least 2.5 miles from school would still receive passes, but the board previously committed to reducing that distance requirement.

The budget would include funding for additional teachers at the West Broadway Middle School and Providence’s two new high schools, as well as expanded career and technical education programs at all high schools and more Advanced Placement courses across the city.

The Elorza administration has repeatedly declined to comment on whether it intends to increase funding for the school department, but a spokesman for city told WPRI.com improving schools remains a top priority for the mayor. Elorza is expected to release his first budget proposal in April.

No matter what the full School Board requests, Elorza and the City Council have the final say over the school department’s budget.Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan