School budget

The Board also approved May 30 as a make-up day for days missed this winter because of weather.

The make-up days are now: March 17 and May 27, 28, 29 and 30.

Seniors will still graduate on May 24.

During public comment on the budget, Perry Johnson, co-chair of the Fluvanna Education Association, said she sees a trend toward funding items rather than employees.

“A smaller percentage goes toward people and a larger percentage goes to things, but we’re told ‘teachers are our most valuable resource,’” Johnson said. “You increase the budget but decrease the lifetime earnings of teachers…. (I ask you to) reverse this trend and put more money where it counts most.”

The new pay scale puts all teachers with less than eight years’ experience on a different scale which reduces those teachers’ lifetime earnings by $115,000.

Spanish Teacher Jimmy Koczan said the new pay scale puts him on the legacy scale, so he won’t be losing money, but colleagues who’ve labored beside him for years would be penalized.

“I can’t in good conscience support this,” Koczan said. “I shared with you today an alternate contract that would put all current employees on the legacy scale. The costs are minimum compared to the effects of (your proposed scale) on those teachers. Your proposal aims to save money on the backs of a minority of employees.  Let’s move forward with a new scale for new teachers. “

Koczan proposed starting all new teachers signing contracts for the 2014/2015 school year be placed on a new scale.

David Blaha echoed Koczan’s comments. Each referred to how it would affect their fellow teacher, Mitchell Pace, who has worked for Fluvanna Schools just one year shy of being included on the legacy scale.

Pace is an Advanced Placement Government teacher. He was at the meeting, along with about 30 of his students who were attending to fulfill an assignment on local government.

Besides the new scale, the budget offers all teachers a 3.6 percent raise to offset payments to the VRS – meaning the teachers would not see that money as it would go directly to VRS. Keller’s budget also proposes a flat $300 raise to all non-teachers.

The Board also approved requiring bus drivers to work 4.5 hours per day to be eligible for health insurance. That passed 4-1, again with Rittenhouse voting against the measure.

Assistant Superintendent Chuck Winkler and Supervisor of Transportation Jessica Cannon spoke to the Board about their efforts to make sure all bus drivers who want to keep their health insurance will get enough hours to do so. Some have offered to help clean up in the cafeteria after breakfast so teachers can get to class. Others have offered to work in school offices or to help with reading.

One proposal is staggering bus routes so students are on buses a shorter amount of time. In past presentations, this appeared as if that plan would lengthen the school day.

During public comment, siblings Maddie and Will Henning spoke against a longer school day.

“The Journal of the American Medical Association says (children my age) need at least 10 hours of sleep,” Will Henning said.

He said he has a friend who has to get up so early to catch the bus, “She might as well sleep over at school.”

Winkler assured the crowd the new routes are designed to shorten the amount of time students are on the bus. By doing so, students will have more time in the classroom.

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