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Association wants raises for Spotsy teachers

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Spotsylvania Education Association President Peter Pfotenhauer is pushing the county School Board to try again to provide raises for teachers next year.

Pfotenhauer spoke at a public hearing Monday as the board begins the process of developing a 2014–15 school budget.

The School Board had proposed a 2 percent increase for the 2013–14 budget, which would have been funded by additional local money, but the Board of Supervisors denied the request.

“Your challenges in budget season may be many,” Pfotenhauer said, noting an expected cut in funds from the state, as well as Virginia’s refusal to participate in Medicaid expansion.

He said contacting officials and making sure Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe understands the needs of school divisions are the first steps to providing “a much-needed increase.”

“After six years, we more than deserve it,” he said.

Spotsylvania resident Ron Fiske also commented on the budget Monday night, saying the board has destroyed its reputation with the Board of Supervisors over the past decade.

“Your duty is to prepare realistic school budgets reflecting good-faith spending requirements,” he said. “Start by being honest. No embellishments. No accounting tricks. Be fully transparent. Insulate yourselves from criticism by not giving the supervisors reasons to justify their damaging budget decisions because of your bad faith and deception.”

He said in order to fund salary increases, the board could eliminate one or more of the following: middle and high school athletics programs, extracurricular programs, nonessential school maintenance and custodial services and bus transportation for all but handicapped students.

The board also unanimously approved the 2015–19 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) during its Monday meeting. The plan, costing more than $65 million, focuses on improvements to technology, maintenance and transportation.

The plan includes spending $17 million on transportation over five years, including the purchase of six special-needs buses and one passenger bus in 2015, 25 passenger buses and two Head Start buses in 2016 and 2017, 24 passenger buses and two Head Start buses in 2018 and 2019, and eight engines.

The $32 million in maintenance costs will cover roof replacement, HVAC systems, flooring, boiler repairs, security camera upgrades, parking lot repairs and lighting upgrades.

More than $16 million allocated for technology costs will cover the completion of wireless infrastructure in schools and device replacement.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976