Fredericksburg City Beat

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Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Schools budget proposal will include teacher raises

Fredericksburg’s School Board will meet for a budget work session Monday around 5:15 p.m. (after their closed session) at James Monroe High School. A memo released ahead of that meeting indicates that Superindentent David Melton intends to ask for a $1.4 million increase in local funding for the schools next year.

That money would go toward covering an anticipated $1.85 million in increased schools spending next year. That spending includes:

  • $536,250 for a 2.5 percent raise for schools employees.
  • $320,139 to add five teachers to the schools workforce.
  • $360,000 to cover a 12 percent increase in health insurance costs.
  • $635,467 to cover a 3.23 percent rate increase in Virginia Retirement System pension costs.

The city kept its contribution to the schools level this year, at $24 million. The schools had requested an additional $700,000, in part to give a 2 percent raise to schools employees.

Both city and schools employees have gone without raises for the past few  years, but there may be more support for raises for next year. As the current year’s budget process drew to a close, City Manager Beverly Cameron told City Council members that they would need to find a way to give raises to city and schools employees in the next fiscal year, even if that means raising taxes.

Since then, council members have occasionally referred to the looming need to raise employee salaries to avoid losing trained, experienced talent as the economy begins to improve and hiring picks up elsewhere. Fred Howe even made it a key point in interviews he gave before being elected to the Ward 3 council seat. He said this week that he’d like to see raises paired with a staffing study to make sure the city has the right number of people working in the right areas of service.

The question then becomes how to pay for raises. We probably won’t see a city budget proposal until early March. In the meantime, the schools will begin their budget deliberations after Monday, when Melton releases his proposed budget document Feb. 7. The School Board will hold a public hearing on the schools budget March 7, and at some point after that hearing the board will vote on its budget.

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  • Rufus

    A teacher-raise would be an outrage. In this recession, everyone else’s wages are going DOWN, not up. Every worker in USA is getting increases in health premiums, pension premiums, and taxes. So why shouldn’t teachers get the same deal?

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  • George

    I think the point is that teachers have ALREADY been getting the impact of no raises coupled with rising premiums. They are still grossly underpaid in some fields. The starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is already $20k less than private industry for a bachelor’s in a hard science like math, physics, or computer science. Now, that’s the outrage!

    No wonder the USA is falling behind in science, engineering, and math.

  • Joshi

    If you work only half the year, you shouldn’t get paid as much as someone else who works all year. Besides the quality of public education stinks, mostly because of crappy teaching.

  • Billabong

    You think its bad here? Try a state with teacher unions …

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