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State money would play a role, but it’s not clear if those funds will be available next year.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Roanoke schools leaders talked at length Tuesday about whether the school system can afford to increase pay for its staffers.
During a Roanoke School Board work session, officials discussed possibilities for upping compensation, including offering a 2 percent raise for staffers paid using some state funds.
Chairman David Carson emphasized Tuesday that officials want to give staffers raises, but the discussion was about whether the school system has the ability to do so. No action was taken, but officials will likely vote on any changes to compensation next month.
The state money for raises has dogged area school systems in recent months. Local education officials have been hesitant not to take state funds but have also struggled to find local funds to pay for the full cost of such raises.
The Virginia budget includes funds for the state’s share of a 2 percent pay raise for Standards of Quality-funded positions, which are positions required by the state.
Local school systems, which staff well above the minimums, would have to pay their portion of the raises, as well as raises for non-Standards of Quality positions. It is also unclear whether the state money would be available next year; its absence would put systems in the position of maintaining the same increase without state support.
In Roanoke the state would provide about $800,000, while it would cost a total of about $2 million to give raises to all system staffers.
Several board members said Tuesday they could not support the 2 percent raise.
Board member Lori Vaught said that without a commitment from the state that its share of money for the raises would be available next year she couldn’t support them.
“I have a feeling next year is going to be even more painful,” she said of the coming budget. “I just don’t see it’s something we can sustain.”
B oard member Suzanne Moore advocated for the 2 percent raise and said the increase could keep teachers with the system. She also talked about not leaving money on the table.
“I’m going to continue to support the 2 percent because I’m not going to let Richmond take that back,” she said.
Board Vice Chairman Todd Putney asked for more information before officials make a decision, including figures estimating where revenue will be after the next fiscal year. He also asked if the school system could get clarification on whether the state funds will be available for raises next year.
In addition to the question of the 2 percent raises, board members also talked about “smoothing” principal pay scales, which would make the compensation among levels of service more aligned.
The board will likely vote on any changes to compensation June 11.
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