Raises still on table

Published 1:20 pm Saturday, March 9, 2013


FRANKLIN—A 2-percent raise for Franklin City Public School employees is still budgeted for the 2013-14 school year. It would be the first raise for school employees in four years.

“Our staff has not received a raise for a four-year period now,” said Franklin School Board Chairwoman Edna King. “These raises are essential to retain the wonderful staff that we have as well as attracting highly qualified staff in the future.”

The budget process is still ongoing, noted Finance Supervisor Rachel Yates.

“The numbers we are currently working with are what came out of the General Assembly,” Yates said. “They still have to go before Gov. McDonnell during his veto session.”

The General Assembly’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes money to help pay for the optional 2-percent raises for contracted employees, which include teachers, principals, guidance counselors, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and librarians. Southampton schools would receive $158,441 from the state, but would have to kick in $38,667 to cover the total cost of $197,108.

Franklin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle will introduce a proposed $16.2 million budget that includes two percent pay-raises for employees during the school board meeting on March 21.

Belle could not be reached for comment.

King is afraid of the effects the district could see because of sequestration.

“We are just moving in the direction that other school systems are moving in, uncertainty,” King said. “So we are trying to correlate our needs with the sequestration.”

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

The funds being asked for are carry over funds that still would have to be approved by Franklin City Council, said City Manager Randy Martin.

“These were funds that were found during an audit that were not used out of their 2011-12 budget,” Martin said. “This is the largest carryover that they have had in a while and that is a credit to the system’s financial department.”

Martin continued, “I caution the school board not to count on carry over funds for ongoing expenditures.”

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.

“The entire board had input on that as far as our priorities and the requests we received from the buildings,” King said.

“Those were not so different from those that we as a board proposed.”

Also budgeted are a division math specialist and special education aide at an annual cost of $65,000 and $18,000, respectively.

“We are moving forward with the budget while keeping in mind the needs of the total community,” King said.