The Charlottesville City School Board on Thursday unanimously approved a $78.4 million funding request that aims to raise staff salaries by an average of 2 percent and add more than $600,000 for new teaching positions.
The plan relies on more than $1.9 million in new funding from city coffers and represents a $2.7 million, or 3.6 percent, increase over the current budget.
Salary increases and new positions are expected to cost the schools more than $1.5 million next year, documents showed. That includes the 2 percent average raise for staff, seven new positions and an $83,000 line item to fill unexpected vacancies.
Board Chairwoman Amy Laufer praised efforts to improve teacher pay and add jobs.
“This budget reflects our commitment to the compensation of our teachers, and it reflects our commitment to STEM: science, technology, engineering and math,” she said. “Almost every position we have added has to do with one of those.”
New STEM positions under the proposed budget include a lead math teacher, an elementary-level iSTEM teacher, additional materials to support STEM curricula and a restructuring of STEM positions, documents showed.
The approved request reflected efforts by the division to close a $215,000 spending gap.
To bring expenditures even with projected revenue, the board on Tuesday agreed to form a committee to cut the division’s expected 9 percent health insurance cost increase.
To balance the budget, the schools will need to keep the health care increase at or below 7 percent, Assistant Superintendent Ed Gillaspie said Tuesday.
Two percentage points should equal about $90,000, he said.
The board also nixed a $39,500 plan to add a full-time homebound teacher and restructured a planned raise for daily substitute teachers in the division.
Daily substitutes will be paid on a two-tier system starting next year; substitutes with teaching certificates will make $85 a day, and those without certificates will be paid $80 a day.
Originally, the spending plan proposed a three-tiered pay system that would have paid substitutes with at least an associate’s degree $75 a day, those with a four-year degree $81 a day, and licensed teachers $91 a day.
Board member Jennifer McKeever thanked division staff for their efforts to include raises for substitutes.
“I do appreciate the staff’s time and attention on this, and the raises for substitute teachers and staff in general,” she said.
State funding for the division remains a mystery, officials said Tuesday, and could have a significant effect on the final budget.
Board member Juandiego Wade said developing this year’s request has been relatively painless.
“I have done 10 of these now, and this was probably the easiest that I have been through,” he said. “I think we have a budget that we all will be happy with.”
The division will present its funding request to City Council on March 7.