Archived Story

4-percent pay raise

Published 8:42am Monday, April 1, 2013

BY ANDREW FAISON/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
andrew.faison@tidewaternews.com

FRANKLIN—Franklin City Public School Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle proposed a $14.35 million budget that includes four percent pay-raises for employees and the addition of five positions

She made the proposal during the Thursday School Board meeting.

The raise would the first for school employees in four years.

The General Assembly’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes money to help pay for optional two percent raises for contracted employees, which include teachers, principals, guidance counselors, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and librarians.

Franklin schools would receive $158,441 from the state, but would have to kick in $38,667 to cover the total cost of $197,108.

“We are proposing adding an additional 2-percent on top of the raise we will be required across the board,” Belle said.

Requested in the budget is the addition of a reading specialist and special education teacher, each of which would cost $55,000 annually for pay and benefits. Also budgeted are a division math specialist and special education aide at an annual cost of $65,000 and $18,000, respectively.

“The reading specialist is required by the General Assembly, so we have to do that,” Belle said.

The district also will ask the city for an extra $643,174 for its 2013-14 spending plan. That would be on top of the city’s current funding of $4.9 million.

“We are only asking for level funding, plus this amount which is carryover funds,” Belle said. “The only reason we have this included is that it is a carryover figure from an audit of the 2011-12 school year.”

School Board Chairwoman Edna King is hesitant to include the money in the budget.

“We need something in writing from the city on how much we will exactly get from the carryover,” King said. “It is almost a given that we will see some federal cuts next year. I want to see because of all the financial issues we have seen in other school divisions. We have seen two in severe trouble because of carryover money.”

Belle will now present the current proposed budget to Franklin City Council during the 7 p.m. April 8 meeting at City Hall.

“To clarify, this is the Superintendent’s proposed operating budget for 2013-14,” Belle said. “Once the School Board has heard this they will now go and tweak to make this their budget. Which they will prayerfully adopt at the April meeting.”

The budget also includes:

n A 5.5 percent increase in health insurance at a cost of $43,285;

n $10.7 million for instruction, up by $716,697 over this year;

n An 18.15 percent increase in transportation to $648,286 for fuel adjustment and the purchase of a new $81,000 school bus; and

n School Resource Officer at a baseline cost of $24,000.

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