All King William County Public Schools staff and teachers may see a 5 percent salary increase in the next fiscal year.
Division Superintendent David White presented his proposed fiscal year 2019-2020 budget at a joint School Board and Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday night.
The proposed budget addresses new education requirements by the state, an estimated 12 percent increase in health insurance for employees and the governor’s proposed 5 percent salary increase for teachers over two years.
The budget comes out to a proposed total of $25,445,740. The School Board approved White’s proposed budget at their Feb. 19 meeting.
Because of an increase in students with disabilities, White has proposed the addition of one full-time paraprofessional staff member and two contracted paraprofessionals.
“I’m also proposing three car drivers, one bus driver, two bus aides and one new special-needs bus,” White said. “Both of our buses for students with disabilities are currently at capacity.”
The division had 309 students with disabilities in December 2017 and had 317 as of Dec. 1, 2018.
The total recommendations would cost $214,130, with $201,730 in local funding and $12,400 in state funding.
School guidance counselor to student ratios are now subject to change after the recent adoption of a House and Senate budget bill that was brought on by the House Select Committee on School Safety. The amount would be finalized if the governor approves the General Assembly’s proposed budget.
“The mandate changes the ratios and counselors must now spend 80 percent of their time counseling students, both for career and mental health,” White said.
The proposed ratios are 1 counselor to 455 primary or elementary students, 1 counselor to 370 middle school students and 1 counselor to 325 high school students, according to the budget bill.
White has proposed the division add one data and assessment coordinator to take on the guidance counselor’s task of administering tests and two part-time guidance counselors at the middle and high schools to meet the new requirements.
The new positions would cost $185,560, with $32,580 in local funds, $95,450 in state funds and $57,530 in federal funds.
The division is also taking steps to be in compliance with the state’s graduation program, “Profile of a Virginia Graduate,” which states that the class of 2022 -- students who were freshmen in fall 2018 -- must meet certain requirements to graduate, according to the Virginia Department of Education’s website. The program, created in the end of 2017, includes workplace experiences, new credits for career and technical education courses and options for performance assessments instead of Standards of Learning tests, according to the department’s website.
White has requested $108,000 from the county to add an additional career and technical education teacher at the high school for $73,000 and upgrade a computer science paraprofessional to a teacher at the elementary school for $35,000, which will extend opportunities to students and have the schools be compliant under the program, he said.
The division wants to give all staff and teachers, full and part time, a 5 percent salary increase, which would match Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed 5 percent raise for teachers over two years.
The division was not able to provide salary raises last year, according to White.
In the Tidewater region — King William, King and Queen, West Point and New Kent — King William was the only division that did not provide teacher raises for this year, according to White and Review archives.
The division asked the county to fund proposed raises of a step plus 1 percent for teachers and 2 percent for other staff, as well as an employer insurance increase last year. The county did not fund the raises, but did fund the employer insurance increase, according to White. The division then changed some of their insurance plans and benefits so employees wouldn’t see higher premiums without getting raises, according to finance director Deborah Stickley.
Staff salary increases would be effective after the start of fiscal year 2020 contracts for 12-month employees on July 1, 11-month employees on Aug. 1 and 10-month employees (most teachers) on Sept. 1, according to Stickley. The salary increases would cost a total of $859,960, with a $415,390 local request and $444,570 from the state.
The division is projected to see a 12 percent increase in employee and employer health insurance for a total of $430,000.
The division recently implemented a GPS system in all school buses and is looking to implement a routing system, according to White.
“This routing system would determine the safest, shortest route and how many vehicles are needed,” White said. “It would communicate with our GPS system.”
White said having the GPS system has helped the division in times of bad weather and with complaints about time or missed stops.
The division pays $1,840 monthly for a month-to-month contract for the GPS system. The cost for the routing software is unknown as the division is still looking at options, according to Stickley.
White also discussed his excitement for the primary, elementary and middle schools to go solar with the Sun Tribe Solar panel project at the end of this year, providing the district with energy savings of $4,051,252 over 30 years.
The division’s proposed draft capital fund budget includes three new buses for $270,000, replacing HVAC units for $260,000 and finishing up Hamilton-Holmes Middle School renovations with the School Board office, roof repairs and window replacement in the atrium.
The local request for the capital fund is $894,000 for a total of $3,034,000, made up of funds already allocated from grants, bonds and the state, which would need to be allocated, according to Stickley.
Chairman Bill Hodges asked White if the division had considered other insurance rates.
Stickley said they are constantly looking at other rates and most of the time, an increase is in the cost of services provided, regardless of how many claims are filed under a group.
Both Hansen and Supervisor Bob Ehrhart asked White about teacher retention and competing salaries of other divisions.
White said he could not confirm if a teacher left because of salary or how many teachers have left. He said other surrounding divisions do have higher salaries for teachers and he will send the board the information.
County Administrator Bobbie Tassinari will present her recommended budget at the board’s March 25 meeting, including the recommended amount for the school division, according to Tassinari.
The board meets at 7 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 180 Horse Landing Road, Suite 4, in King William.
Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, firstname.lastname@example.org or @ashleyrluck on Twitter