School board to host public hearing

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The School Board will host a public hearing on the proposed budget tonight.

The proposal calls for closing two schools, cutting positions and scaling back on summer school programs and equipment purchases.

The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at King’s Fork High School.

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The superintendent has proposed closing Florence Bowser and Mount Zion elementary schools.

Superintendent Deran Whitney said he hopes to place all of the displaced teachers and staff from the two schools through retirements and resignations at other schools.

Also under the proposed budget, teachers, staff and administration will not receive raises for the fourth year in a row. The proposed budget does not allow for a salary scale adjustment or a raise in the form of step increases.

If approved by the School Board, the system also will offer a retirement incentive for 140 eligible teachers — those over 50 years old with at least 30 years of experience. The superintendent anticipates that 15 percent of those eligible will take the incentive, which will come in the form of a cash payout of 20 percent of the teacher’s base salary.

The budget depends upon increased funding from the city of $2 million and no further decreases from the state. Whitney said that he has no idea what will happen if the General Assembly approves a state budget with more cuts, or if the city does not provide the additional funding.

The school system is requesting that speakers keep their comments to two minutes and appoint a representative for groups.

The budget can be viewed at any city or school library or at the school administrative offices. It is also available for download from the system’s website at