School Board to hear more about budget

Published 10:02 pm Monday, December 9, 2019

The Suffolk School Board will hold a work session on next year’s budget and get its first public feedback about it during its meeting Thursday.

The board will start with a work session on the 2020-2021 budget, and after a closed session, will begin its regular meeting with a public hearing on the budget.

Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III has stated his desire to increase the budget over the current year’s budget of $173.3 million, which included a 2.25-percent raise for teachers, a half-percent raise and a step increase on the pay scale for support staff, and a 1.5-percent increase for permanent part-time staff. The budget is a 2.85-percent increase from the current 2018-2019 budget of $168.5 million.

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The current budget includes $60.8 million from the city and $90.1 million from the state.

The next state budget will begin a new two-year budget cycle, and the city will not have any state funding projections until Gov. Ralph Northam unveils his proposed budget Dec. 17.

On Friday, Gordon told state legislators that he had received each school’s needs list, which totaled $4.5 million. That, he said, leaves out other needs of the division to move some things forward.

During that meeting, Gordon said he wanted to increase salaries for teachers and provide increased support for new teachers, and he also wants to expand the school administrative office.

Also on Thursday’s agenda are a pair of proposals that address issues with buses arriving late to school and back home at the end of the day.

One would give approval for staff to take on extended bus duty, paying $26.40 per hour for teachers, and $13 per hour for teacher assistants. Staff approved for the extended duty would monitor students who remain at school after regular dismissal.

The other would pay teachers who have a commercial driver’s license to drive bus routes when needed. Teachers would be required to submit timesheets on a weekly basis in order to verify the amount of time they worked. They would be paid $26.40 per hour.

Both items are on the board’s consent agenda.

The board is also slated to tackle numerous ordinances under both unfinished and new business, including ordinances that address vaping.

The board’s work session begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and the public hearing on the 2020-2021 budget begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.