W-JCC School Board to vote on salary, discuss budget

The James City County members of the Williamsburg-JCC School Board may vote to raise their pay Tuesday night after the regularly scheduled board meeting.

After the 6:30 p.m. regular meeting closes, the five JCC members will open a special-call meeting to discuss and possibly vote to change their compensation.

Because W-JCC is made up of two localities where the five JCC members are elected and the two Williamsburg members are appointed, only the JCC members have a say in changing all seven board members' compensation. That's why the JCC contingent has to open and close its own meeting.

Because board Chairwoman Kyra Cook is a Williamsburg appointee, as is the board's parliamentarian Julie Hummel, vice chairman Holly Taylor (JCC Stonehouse) will run the meeting.

Each year that 40 percent of the board's five elected seats are up for election, the board can revisit and change their compensation. They last upped it in 2005 to where it is now, at $5,500 per board member and an extra $1,100 for the board's chair. In York County, the chairman is paid $10,200; vice chairman, $9,600; other members, $9,000.

Whatever the JCC members decide will automatically be applied to the Williamsburg member's rates. Virginia law sets a salary cap of $25,000 for elected boards.

Discussion at the regular board meeting will be dominated by the fiscal year 2017-18 budget.

Superintendent Olwen Herron has been working on next year's budget since long before last week, when she was promoted from acting superintendent.

This proposed budget will be presented to the board for the first time on Tuesday by Herron and the division's Chief Financial Officer Christina Berta. Herron has been working to balance the priorities the board members put forward at their Jan. 14 budget retreat and required spending increases with an overall decrease in expected revenue.

Berta said one of the biggest challenges this year is a state-mandated increase in employer contributions to the Virginia Retirement System on behalf of its employees, which will cost around $1.4 million annually.

Herron said one of her own priorities is finding funds for staff raises.

The division won't know its final funding from the state or the localities for a few months. After Tuesday's presentation and discussion, the James City County Board of Supervisors and Williamsburg City Council will see a similar presentation along with the School Board at a yet-to-be-scheduled meeting in March.

A public hearing on the document will take place before the March 7 School Board meeting, with approval of the budget slated for either March 21 or 28. Then it will go to the localities for approval by May 15.

As for action items, the board will vote on a new name for Rawls Byrd Elementary School. They decided it needed to be changed last May after activists brought to light that the former superintendent's actions might have directly opposed integration within W-JCC.

The name options were narrowed down to three in January: Glasshouse, Sarah G.B. Jones and Laurel Lane.

During their discussion Feb. 7, the board members seemed to agree on Laurel Lane.

They noted that Sarah G.B. Jones, a groundbreaking African-American doctor, didn't have strong ties to Williamsburg and Glasshouse, a structure at Historic Jamestowne, lacked strong ties to the school.

Laurel Lane however, is the street on which the school sits. At the Feb. 7 meeting, the board did confirm that the penguin will stay on as the school's mascot.

A vote will also be taken on whether or not to approve $120,000 in FY16 year-end spending funds for new band uniforms at all three high schools. The uniforms cost $136, 997.70, the difference would be made up by proceeds from performances and high school boosters.

According to the agenda, the outfits are replaced every 10 years. Senior Director for School Performance Valerie DiPaola said Jamestown got new uniforms in 2005, Lafayette in 2006 and Warhill in 2007.

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

Want to go?

Regular W-JCC open meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Stryker Center, 412 N. Boundary St.

School Board special-call meeting will immediately follow regular meeting.

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