Spotsy OKs raises for school workers
The Spotsylvania County School Board on Monday unanimously adopted its $275 million 2015 budget, which remained relatively unchanged since its original draft. But with the state’s budget decision still looming, staff cautioned that the board may be back in the coming months to amend the document.
The schools budget includes the first comprehensive raise in six years. The raise, which is fully funded in the proposed budget and will cost $4.7 million, includes a step increase and a 1 percent cost-of-living increase for staff.
The budget also maintains the current number of staff members for the first time in six years, according to Superintendent Scott Baker.
Baker said, “In these times, it’s quite rewarding to have a budget that passed nearly the same as it started when the state budget is so uncertain.”
School Board Chairman James Meyer called the budget “a win for everyone.”
He added that there are items he would liked to have included, but now the board is playing a waiting game with the state to see if those can be added.
The 2015 schools budget was $1.6 million short of being fully funded until the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors approved a 41-cent rate increase to the personal property tax on cars and other vehicles. The new rate of $6.78 per $100 of assessed value will generate about $2.6 million in additional revenue, allowing the county to fully fund the School Board’s spending plan, along with other county services.
Currently, the board is projecting $126.1 in state funds for fiscal year 2015.
While the state budget is unclear, the board has discussed what it would put additional money toward if it was offered. The division would like to reduce athletics fees from $100 to $75 per student, according to discussions at a recent work session. The board also discussed increasing sports coaching stipends by 5 percent, restoring paraeducator positions, and increasing the substitute teacher pay rate and food service funds.
During the public comment portion of the meeting Monday, Spotsylvania Education Association president and English teacher Peter Pfotenhauer asked the board to think about the budget deadlock over Medicaid expansion.
“I am sure you and the BOS would welcome Spotsylvania County’s share of those dollars,” he said. “For the first time in six years, our budget cuts no positions and provides a raise but there was no shortage of other needs we could not meet this year. Opponents of Medicaid expansion say they worry about future costs, but facts suggest not participating is more costly. I don’t teach math, but I know those numbers don’t add up.”
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