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School Board unanimously adopts $209m funding request

After putting $190,000 more to boosting employee wages, the Albemarle County School Board unanimously voted Tuesday to send its $209 million funding request to the Board of Supervisors.

The School Board has held three work sessions to consider the request, which was tweaked slightly ahead of Tuesday’s meeting to account for $227,000 more revenue and some savings on the expense side of the ledger. Those changes gave the School Board a $190,000 cushion.

Division staff members presented four scenarios to balance the request, and the School Board elected to use the money for compensation.

At $209 million, the request is 7% higher than the current operating budget of $195.4 million.

About $7.5 million is budgeted to give teachers up to a 3% raise, classified staff up to a 1.5% raise and boost the division’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

In recent weeks, county teachers have been advocating for a higher raise, and chairman Jonno Alcaro said he’s received numerous emails about the issue. The funding request didn’t alter the current salary proposal, but Alcaro left the door open for that to change in April, when the board adopts a budget.

“I hear what you are saying,” he said. “ … Numbers throughout our budget request will not be finalized until April when we know the final monies that we’ll be receiving from the state and the county. Teacher compensation is front and center in everyone’s minds for this year’s final budget.”

The $190,000 would amount to an additional .22% raise for teachers.

Other potential scenarios for the money were a quicker expansion of the foreign language program in elementary schools or to change the use of the division’s fund balance in the request.

County Executive Jeff Richardson will present his recommended budget to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 19. The School Board will adopt its budget in April.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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