School budget revealed
Published 9:07 pm Friday, February 10, 2017
The Suffolk School Board on Thursday got its first look at a proposed budget that includes a small raise for all full-time and permanent part-time employees.
The budget presented by Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney proposes a 1-percent cost-of-living raise for the school system’s employees. It also includes a bonus, proposed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe as part of the state budget, of 1.5 percent of the base salary, to be paid in December.
School Board member David Mitnick said he was concerned about the small raise. He noted a state bonus proposed last year was cut.
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“I’m very concerned, because I know last year the money was cut from the state budget,” he said. “If we end up with only a 1-percent increase for our staff, we’re going to get killed.”
He said he feared an exodus of teachers leaving for other school divisions for better pay.
Like every year, the development of the school budget is complicated by not knowing how the General Assembly will act on the governor’s proposed budget.
“Until we get final numbers, we don’t know what that will materialize,” Whitney said.
The General Assembly session closes Feb. 25.
The budget proposal, totaling $160.8 million, has increased about $4.1 million from last year.
The change includes nearly $1.6 million from increased lottery funds, more than half a million provided by the state for fringe benefits and other state increases.
An additional $2 million is requested from local funds, which provided $53.8 million last year. About $166,000 in additional federal funding is anticipated.
The additional money will go toward about $1.2 million in increased salaries for the 1-percent raise; additional costs for retirement contributions, health benefits and worker’s compensation costs; and more than $700,000 to shoulder the entire cost of the Pruden Center, which Isle of Wight County will pull out of effective June 30.
A public hearing on the budget is set for March 9 at the regular School Board meeting. The full budget document is available on the school division’s website, spsk12.net.