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Spotsylvania School Board members concerned about salaries for teachers.
By PAMELA GOULD
Spotsylvania School Board members aren't pleased that the division's new teachers earn less than first-year teachers in Fredericksburg and Louisa County.
But with a projected shortfall for fiscal 2014, they aren't sure what they will be able to do about it.
"We know we have a $7.9 million deficit, so the chances of us giving employees a pay raise are zero as I see it," said board member Ray Lora.
Other board members are less pessimistic, but don't have great expectations either.
"I would hope that we could do something," board member Jim Meyer said.
He's open to finding a way to increase pay or assist with health-insurance premiums or find some option that would put more money in employees' pockets.
"I could see us searching for a [cost-of-living adjustment] again," said board member Amanda Blalock. "All that's really doing is keeping their heads above water."
For this school year, most employees received a 5.8 percent pay increase, but 5 percent of that was to cover a state mandate that employees start paying their own Virginia Retirement System contribution.
Most employees received a 1 percent COLA and a $600 bonus last year.
That was the first pay raise since the 2008-09 school year, when staff received a 2.5 percent COLA.
Because of the struggling economy, employees haven't received a step increase--pay hikes linked to experience--since the 2007-08 school year.
TEACHER PAY SCALES
Beginning teachers in Spotsylvania earn $39,200 this year compared with $40,370 in Louisa County and $40,250 in Fredericksburg, according to data assembled by the Spotsylvania division's Human Resources Department.
Starting teachers in Stafford County earn $36,685, which is less than in Orange and Culpeper counties, but $685 more than in King George.
Though first-year teachers in Stafford earn less than their counterparts in Spotsylvania, Stafford teachers earn more than those in Spotsylvania at all other steps included in the survey.
The survey begins at Step 0, then jumps to Step 5 and includes data at five-step intervals up to Step 30.
Spotsylvania Superintendent Scott Baker joined board members in their concerns about teacher recruitment and retention with the current pay scale. But he said it's too early in the process to say, what, if anything, he will recommend in his budget proposal for fiscal 2014, which begins July 1.
Below are starting salaries
City of Richmond