Frederick school paychecks would rise under budget

Posted: January 16, 2013

The Winchester Star

(Updated to Correct to Frederick County Schools)
 

WINCHESTER — Frederick County School Superintendent David Sovine’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget would improve the existing salary scale for staff to make the division more competitive with others in the state.

On Tuesday, Sovine presented his budget to the School Board. The $168 million plan has a school operating fund of $136.4 million. Last year’s operating fund was $131.9 million.

After accounting for expenditure increases and a $1.5 million reduction in revenue, the division faces a $6 million shortfall in FY14.

The proposed budget includes a two-part, $4.8 million salary initiative. Division employees have not had a salary increase since July 2008.

Part one is related to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed 2-percent salary increase for Standards of Quality instructional positions, such as teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, principals, assistant principals and instructional aides.

McDonnell’s proposal, however, would not include all staff.

As part of the initiative, the state would provide $700,000. To provide a 2-percent salary increase for all division employees, the locality would have to put in $1.3 million.

Part two of Sovine’s salary-increase initiative would require $2.8 million to provide for a two-step movement on existing salary scales for staff with more than one year of experience and a one-step movement for employees who have completed their first year.

Currently, staff with up to four years of experience get paid $39,220. Staff with five and six years of experience (step two) earn a salary of $40,402. After 10 years of experience, teachers reach step four at a salary of $42,766.

With the proposed changes, a teacher in his or her first year would make the same as before — $39,220. However, those with one year under their belt would see a bump to $40,402, and after 10 years of experience they would make $45,130 and be in the sixth step.

The proposed changes would make the division more competitive with the salaries paid to teachers in other divisions.

“It’s more enticing for staff, especially with more experience, to travel across the mountain,” Sovine said — referring to the higher teacher salaries in Loudoun County. “I’m proposing we try to close the gap in these comparisons.”

For the sixth year in a row the budget does not include funding for replacing/restoring technology and buses.

Reduced technology funding has resulted in nearly 1,800 computers not being replaced within the recommended four-year cycle. This results in slower computers and more frequent equipment failure. Current funding levels provide for a seven-year replacement cycle.

“It’s a responsible budget based on our goals,” said Chairman Stuart Wolk. “Some people think this might be a pipe dream, but I think it’s realistic.”

A public hearing on the budget will be held in March. It will be approved in mid-April.

 

Present at the meeting were Chairman Stuart Wolk, Vice-Chair Benjamin Waterman and members Jody Wall, Michael Lake, John Lamanna and Peggy Clark. Jim Harmon was absent.

 

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com