Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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King George teachers to receive 2 percent raises

King George County schools employees will receive 2 percent raises effective January 1, based on the division’s 2011–12 budget.

The School  Board this evening unanimously approved a $30.4 million operating budget. That’s about $918,000 less than members had requested from the county’s Board of Supervisors, which controls the purse strings.

The division’s budget does not include any job cuts, Superintendent Candace Brown said.

The School Board had hoped to give employees raises effective July 1, which is the start of the 2011–12 fiscal year. That would’ve cost $500,000.

But supervisors requested that the pay increases take effect Jan. 1, 2012. They also reduced money for health-insurance premiums for schools employees because those rates dropped.

Teachers haven’t received raises since 2008.

In June, schools employees will receive $500 bonuses. Unlike raises, those one-time payments won’t count toward retirement.

The School Board voted today to give the system’s seven part-timers $250 bonuses in June—half of what full-time employees will receive.  “That just seems logical—if you work half time you would get half the bonus,” member Lynn Pardee said.

School Board member Dennis Paulsen cast the lone dissenting vote on the bonuses.  He said he thought all employees, including part-timers, should receive $500.

The School Board approved the 2011–12 spending plan without discussion.

 The budget process, however, has been contentious between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board.

Supervisors often complain that the School Board doesn’t spend a lot of the money it receives each fiscal year.

A report by Finance Director Donita Harper in April 2010 showed that the School Board returned $4.6 million to the county from 1999 to 2009.

Last week, Paulsen  sarcastically congratulated supervisors in an email for driving King George schools “to the very bottom of the state funding barrel.”

He was referring to a Virginia Department of Education report that outlined how much local funding divisions received in 2009–10 above the state’s minimum requirements.

King George exceeded the required amount by a little more than 2 percent—the lowest percentage of all the state’s school systems.

Supervisors have argued that the annual report doesn’t consider money spent on new schools or building improvements.