Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues
King George schools suspend raises
First, they saw hope of a fatter paycheck next year. Then King George County Schools employees learned this month’s paychecks would be smaller than expected.
At 5 p.m. last night, the acting superintendent proposed boosting their pay in the 2012-13 school year.
At 6 p.m., the School Board voted to suspend a raise that was supposed to take effect this month.
The School Board faces a $400,000 gap, because of lower student enrollment and higher-than-expected costs in special education and transportation.
The state and the county both budget education dollars based on a projected number of students. But King George schools saw about 90 fewer students than expected. That means about $400,000 less will come from the state.
The state has pledged about $300,000 from the budget surplus, which helps.
But King George schools also saw their special education costs skyrocket. Schools are paying 414 percent more for special ed than budgeted, according to School Board Chairman Mike Rose. Most of this cost comes from the lack of a speech therapist. Because speech therapy is mandated by law (if a student’s special education plan calls for it), the schools contract the services out. This means that if a student can’t receive speech therapy at school, their parents can then take them to a private speech therapist and bill the school.
Apparently, they can also bill the school for mileage reimbursement from taking their children to the therapy. And most of this therapy is in Fredericksburg–or even further.
These costs added up to about $160,000, according to information presented tonight.
Later in the meeting, the board approved the hire of a speech therapist, at an annual salary of $61,448. He is scheduled to start Jan. 23.
Look for a story tomorrow with some more details on the proposed budget and the delay in raises.