York County School Division Superintendent Victor Shandor released portions of fiscal year 2016's budget proposal Monday evening at a York County School Board meeting.
He proposed paying for salary increases, new buses and technological upgrades with an additional $1.7 million from the county, a possible $1.6 million in additional state funding and other revenue sources.
"Our workforce, the people who make up this wonderful school division, they are our No. 1 priority," Shandor said.
Shandor proposed that staff compensation be increased by $2.4 million, which would mean teachers would get a 1.4 percent step increase and a 0.6 percent scale adjustment. A step increase is an increase based on how many years an employee has worked, whereas a scale adjustment is an increase to the entire pay scale. Non-teachers would get a 2 percent step increase under this proposal, according to school division documents. Included in the $2.4 million, is a plan for teachers and non-teachers who missed five step increases in the past to have one of their step increases restored. They didn't get step increases because of budget constraints, staff said.
Dennis Jarrett, the division's chief financial officer, said that York County's staff salaries were comparable to the county's peers such as Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. To make equal comparisons among the different school divisions, Jarrett said he included how much or how little each school division had required its employees to contribute to the Virginia Retirement System. Employees must contribute 5 percent of their salary to the retirement system by 2016 and localities are supposed to match employee contributions with raises.
"Right now I think you have a morale problem," Jarrett said. A teacher with several years of experience is making the same salary as one with one year of experience, he said.
Based on York County student's Standards of Learning scores in English and math, which are ranked higher than the scores of peer school divisions, teachers and staff are working hard despite the lack of raises for several years, Jarrett said. Compared to peer school divisions, the division's per pupil expenditure ranks eighth.
Staff did not get raises from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2013. They got a 2 percent raise in fiscal year 2014 and a 3.1 percent raise this year, according to division documents.
Shandor also proposed spending $500,000 for four new school buses and vehicle parts and supplies along with $800,000 to partially replace storage networks, servers and other technological equipment.
Somers can be reached by phone at 757-298-5176.