The Albemarle County School Board will hold a public hearing next Thursday, March 4, on the school division’s proposed funding request for the next school year. The hearing will be accessible to the public via live stream beginning at 6:30 p.m. Those wishing to speak at the hearing can register online from 9 a.m. on Monday until 12 noon on the day of the hearing.
Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas presented the school division’s funding request to the Board on February 18, projecting that revenues and expenditures would balance at $209.9 million. The division is expecting a student enrollment increase of 838. Nearly two-thirds of the increase in expenditures will fund salary increases for employees and establish a $15 per hour minimum wage for full-time regular employees. A year ago, the pandemic erased salary increases that had been approved by the School Board as well as the $15 minimum wage.
At a work session last evening, the division proposed to the School Board a change in its recommended increase in raises for teachers, from 3% to 5%. The increase will allow the school division to offer a salary competitive with neighboring school divisions, the Superintendent said. “By remaining competitive, we will be able to continue to recruit, develop and retain the outstanding educators who provide high-quality teaching and learning for our students and families,” he said.
Also discussed last evening was a $15 per hour minimum wage for all full-time employees and an hourly wage of at least $14.29 for part-time employees. The division’s goal is to increase part-time employees to $15 per hour by the 2022-23 school year. These increases would be in addition to the 2% salary increase now in the funding proposal for all classified staff.
The funding request is supported by a projected 6% increase in recurring revenues and expenditures, fueled in large measure by a combination of strong economic results in the county and state. State revenues, for example, would rise by nearly 10%, or $5.2 million, and locally, the county’s share of the school budget would climb by 5.2%, or $6.9 million. Also contributing to the division next year will be over $6 million in federal CARES funds, which will support learning recovery programs.
Following Thursday’s public hearing, the School Board will hold its final work session before adopting next year’s funding request, now expected to occur at their March 11 business meeting. The funding request will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on March 15. Adoption of a budget for the 2021-22 school year is scheduled for May.
More information on the funding request is available on the division’s 2021-22 Budget Development web page.
In his presentation last week, Haas emphasized the value of hearing from families, employees, students, and community members. Through the current pandemic and including the preparation of the 2021-22 funding request, he said, “The division conducted more surveys on more issues, heard from more families and employees, and received more insight than ever before on how to resolve issues that continue to deeply impact family lives. It is a collaboration that I believe will make us stronger than before, and I am grateful,” he added.
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Strategic Communications Officer