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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Teacher pay hikes back on table
School employees have not had a raise in four years
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Dr. Mark Church

Friday, January 25, 2013


Pay raises for school employees is on the table again this year as the Franklin County School Board and Board of Supervisors begin to discuss concerns for their 2013-14 budgets.

Proposed in the school board's preliminary budget numbers is $1.6 million for a 3.5 percent pay increase for employees.

"Some of our major classes require us to recruit teachers from other regions," said Dr. Mark Church, superintendent of Franklin County schools, during a joint meeting between the two boards Tuesday.

"We want to recruit the best quality of teachers for our children and pay professional wages," he added.

School employees have not received a raise in four years.

Overall, the school board presented a preliminary proposal with $2.6 million in additional needs for county funding.

Included in that figure is the $1.4 million in carryover funds that the school board used to preserve about 18 jobs and offset fuel cost increases in the current year's budget.

When the supervisors approved the use of the carryover funds in May 2012, School Board Chairman Ed Jamison said the school board understood it would have to find continued funding for those positions after 2012-13 because the carryover funds would not be available for the 2013-14 year budget. However, finding that money in the budget has proven difficult after years of budget cuts, according to Lee Cheatham, director of business and finance for the school division.

Other needs for increased county funding include $149,289 for increased retirement funding, $157,902 for additional staffing, and $262,500 in hikes in group health insurance premiums, Cheatham said.

In its preliminary figures, the school board has included several reductions in expenditures, including $103,000 in debt service and $18,732 by minimizing the Early Reading Intervention Program to state requirements.

An additional savings of $178,680 would come by eliminating eight more bus routes.

The school board has also proposed the restructuring of federal monies for a reduction in expenditures of $253,098.

The school board's preliminary proposal also includes the possibility of additional state funding of $482,062 for the 2013-14 budget year.

Overall, the schools' preliminary figures total $80.1 million for the 2013-14 budget cycle with a request for $33.2 million in county funds, an increase of $2.6 million over the current budget year.

A first draft of the school budget for 2013-14 should be completed by March 1. A public hearing on the proposed budget is set for Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the BFMS east auditorium.

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