Hearing set for schools budget

Published 10:21 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

The Suffolk School Board will hold a public hearing Thursday on Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney’s proposed $173.8 million budget.

Whitney’s proposed 2019-2020 budget would be an increase of about $5.3 million from the current budget. State money makes up about 59 percent of the proposed budget, with another 39.6 percent coming from the city.

The proposed budget would be a $1 million increase in the city’s share, from $59.8 million to $60.8 million. State money in the budget would increase by $4.2 million to $90.6 million.

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The budget includes a 2.25 percent cost-of-living raise for teachers, which would cost $1.75 million, while support staff would receive a half-percent cost-of-living raise as well as a step increase on the pay scale. Permanent part-time staff would receive a 1.5-percent cost of living increase, at a cost of $967,500.

His budget also proposes adding six guidance counselors ($550,000) and an additional career and technical education teacher ($57,000), as well as two additional programs — an out-of-school suspension center with two assistants ($81,499) and the Excel Academy at Driver instructional program ($368,372). The Excel program would be staffed with four 11-month teacher specialists who would help students who are struggling academically in traditional classrooms.

The School Board is also expected to consider a resolution to approve an agreement with Combo Construction Company of Norfolk for the construction of phase one of a new $5 million School Operations Facility at the former Mount Zion Elementary School.

According to the proposed resolution, the work would be completed no later than Nov. 29, with a construction cost of $4.2 million. Additional costs for architect and engineering work, estimated city and Hampton Roads Sanitation District fees, furniture and equipment and contingency costs make up the additional cost of the project.

Suffolk City Council approved the transfer of $1 million in unspent capital project money last month to go toward the project.