School Board opts for raises

Published 11:33 pm Thursday, June 12, 2014

The School Board on Thursday instructed the district superintendent to include a raise of at least 1.5 percent for all Suffolk Public Schools staff in the 2014-2015 budget.

“It think that is a minimum,” Chairman Michael Debranksi said, meaning that if the General Assembly passes a state spending plan with more education money than what’s expected, Suffolk’s share will go toward an even larger raise for staff.

But with reports of a recent revenue shortage to state coffers, meaning that cuts may be necessary, “we are waiting to see what that means for education,” district Finance Director Wendy Forsman said.

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Reporting on state lawmakers’ progress toward passing a state budget, after a special General Assembly session convened Thursday, Forsman said that an outcome could be hours away.

“We hope to hear something tonight, either from the House or the Senate, or both, that they have adopted a budget,” she said.

The city this year allocated local funds to the school district to cover what officials pitched as a 1.5 percent bonus for all employees.

A raise instead of a bonus would require the extra city money to be repeated in subsequent years or an increase in state funds. Barring that, the school district would have to tighten the belt substantially in other areas.

The board is scheduled to approve a budget June 23.