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|Board of Supervisors Present:||Fitzgerald A. Barnes, Dan W. Byers, Willie L. Gentry, Jr., Willie L. Harper, Richard A. Havasy, P.T. Spencer, Jr. and Jack T. Wright|
|School Board Present:||Stephen C. Harris, Brain M. Huffman, Hal A. Schaffer, Billy A. Seay and Sherman T. Shifflett|
|Absent:||Gregory V. Strickland and Gail O. Proffitt|
|Others Present:||C. Lee Lintecum, County Administrator; Ernie McLeod, Deputy County Administrator; Amanda Lloyd, Office Manager, Administration; Zuwana Morgan, Deputy Clerk; Becky Fisher, School Board Clerk; Deborah Pettit, Superintendent; Halsey Green, Director of Finance; Bruno Sestito, Director of Technology and S. Dallas Dance, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction|
SCHOOL BOARD CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Schaffer called the March 18, 2008 meeting of the Louisa County School Board order at 6:00 p.m.
CALL TO ORDER
On motion of Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Gentry, which carried a vote of 7-0, the Board of Supervisors voted to reconvene the meeting.
Chairman Harper called the March 18, 2008 joint meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors and the Louisa County School Board to order at 6:00 p.m.
Presentation School Boards FY 09 O&M Budget and FY 09 13 CIP
Mr. Schaffer said when Dr. Pettit started her budget process, she gathered her information from principals and staff and their requests were about a 20 percent increase over the current year. Mr. Schaffer said Dr. Pettit was able to get the budget request down to about five percent over the current year. Mr. Schaffer said Dr. Pettit invited the School Board to be part of the budget process, which allowed them to learn the process. Mr. Schaffer stated because the School Board and Dr. Pettit used each other as a resource, the School Board only decreased the budget about $28,000. Mr. Schaffer said the Schools were now looking at a 4.88 percent increase.
Mr. Schaffer said with the Schools only anticipating an increase of 100 students, people might look at the budget and question why the School Board was requesting $3,628,600, which is approximately $36,000 per student. Mr. Schaffer said in order to address that concern, he was going to present the budget in the following three steps:
Step 1. With no increase in staff or students.
Step 2. With increase of staff.
Step 3. With an anticipated increase of 100 students.
Mr. Schaffer said just with the increase in operating cost, without new staff and students, the schools would need $2,640,786. Mr. Schaffer explained the total would come from salary increases, operating accounts and changes in fringe benefits. Mr. Schaffer stated the increase would bring new teachers starting salaries to $40,370 and give the ability to provide step increases.
Mr. Schaffer said there would basically be a 3.25 percent raise for teachers. Mr. Schaffer stated the classified and directors would get a five percent raise. Mr. Schaffer said the schools had a huge turnover rate with custodians and that was why they would receive a 10 percent raise. Mr. Schaffer stated the technicians salaries were behind compared to other counties; therefore, they would be given a 30 percent raise. Mr. Schaffer stated with those increases, operating costs for salaries would be $1,321,376.
Mr. Schaffer said the operating accounts were either expense that the School Board wished they didnt have or expenses they would be reimbursed for. Mr. Schaffer stated special education legal expenses had increased and was being budgeted for $70,000. Mr. Schaffer said both the special education placement tuition for $98,431 and community college tuition for $59,000 would both be reimbursed.
Mr. Schaffer said the School Board increased vehicle fuel to $300,000 with hopes that it would be enough and they budgeted capital outlay at $217,634. Mr. Schaffer stated the other increases included printing, telephone, paper and office supplies, which was budgeted at $346,307. Mr. Schaffer said the operating cost for fringe benefit rates had decreased in the areas of VRS and group life insurance. Mr. Schaffer said the health insurance; retiree health insurance credit and the workers compensation all increased some. Mr. Schaffer noted that the health insurance selection went up because those who did not have health insurance in the last budget cycle had made selections this cycle.
Mr. Schaffer stated the next way he would like to present the budget would be with the new positions and the current enrollment. Mr. Schaffer said the School Board was a little behind with this because some of the elementary school classes were up to 36 students per class. Mr. Schaffer said that problem would be rectified by adding an additional resource teacher. Mr. Schaffer said the High School needed a teacher; however, the School Board wasnt sure what he or she would teach. Mr. Schaffer said the CE teacher would be for building trades. Mr. Schaffer said the schools were under staffed in technology support and with more testing going online, the support was needed. Mr. Schaffer explained the stipend positions needed were two field hockey coaches and some assistant coaches. Mr. Schaffer said the three special education teachers in the Middle School were needed for those students to be mainstreamed.
Mr. Havasy asked how many instructional assistants were employed throughout the school system. Dr. Pettit stated 76 were employed. Mr. Havasy questioned if most of the instructional assistants were in the elementary schools. Dr. Pettit said yes.
Mr. Schaffer stated Jouett and Trevilians both needed an instructional assistant for reading. Mr. Schaffer said the final position to be added would be the Clerk of the Works, who would come on board in June or July.
Mr. Schaffer said the last way he would like to present the budget was with the new positions and the projected increase in enrollment. Mr. Schaffer said with the projected enrollment, there would be a need for one high school teacher, four elementary school teachers, one elementary special education teacher and one special education instructional assistant. Mr. Schaffer stated the School Board originally thought they would need four bus drivers, but they believed they could do the job with two. Mr. Schaffer said because of the increased work for the modular classrooms, a custodian would also be needed. Mr. Schaffer said the cost for the additional 100 students would be $456,318, which included teachers and supplies. Mr. Schaffer stated with that amount, each student would cost $4,560, opposed to $36,000.
Mr. Havasy questioned why the custodians made more than the instructional assistants and bus drivers. Dr. Pettit explained that the custodians worked 12 months, bus drivers only worked four-hour days and instructional assistants worked about 183 days per year.
Mr. Schaffer stated the graph recaps the last five years and predicts the next two years. Mr. Schaffer said the areas that grew the most and the School Board had the least control over were special education and transportation.
Mr. Schaffer said the Capital Improvement Plan was to meet the needs of increasing enrollment, which included Moss-Nuckols Elementary, six modular classrooms, electrical system upgrades, eight buses, three cars and technology. Mr. Schaffer said there might be a way to save $220,000 by using money from this year for four of the six modular classrooms.
Mr. Schaffer said at this point, everyone was waiting for the State to determine how much they would get. Mr. Schaffer said for now the School Board was asking the County for a 4.88 percent increase, which totaled $1,137,256, and hopefully they will be able to minus the $220,000 for four of the six modular classrooms.
Mr. Schaffer stated he would like to thank Dr. Pettit, Mr. Green, Dr. Dance and Mr. Moore for doing the best they could with so little. Mr. Schaffer said the School Board understood that the Board of Supervisors were going to have a tough time figuring out what the County could afford to give the School Board. Mr. Schaffer stated what the School Board received from the County would be received graciously and without complaints. Mr. Schaffer said the School Board understood that they may not get what they feel they need; however, they ask that they are allowed to use what they get the way School Board felt would be best for the schools.
Mr. Byers questioned where the data came from to project how many students would enroll from year to year. Dr. Pettit said Mr. Moore has been working with the Community Development Department to get a more accurate number for enrollment; however, that study has not been completed and this year the School Board looked at the history of enrollment. Mr. Green said the 100 students also came from the Department of Education. Mr. Green stated at one point, the School Board used Weldon Cooper and he found that their numbers were not accurate. Mr. Barnes stated Weldon Cooper used birth rates, which missed transient people moving to the area.
Mr. Spencer questioned how many students the School Board anticipated that they would lose. Mr. Schaffer said the School Board was looking at the 100 students as a net gain.
Mr. Barnes said both Boards have worked hard to increase teachers salaries. Mr. Barnes questioned if the starting teacher salary of $40,370 would keep Louisa County competitive. Dr. Pettit said Louisa County Schools would be competitive, but not as much as she would like. Dr. Pettit stated the other Counties in region five were looking at four to five percent raises. Dr. Pettit said their starting salaries were already more than Louisa.
Dr. Pettit gave the Board members a chart from the VEA that showed how Louisa ranked compared to other schools. Mr. Barnes stated Louisa has made great gains.
Mr. Gentry questioned why the School Board would give a 3.25 percent raise for all teachers. Mr. Green said every teacher does not get a 3.25 percent raise. Mr. Green said the average new teacher gets ¾ of a percent the first five years, and then the percentage goes up and there was also a longevity bonus. Mr. Gentry questioned how the 3.25 percent helped the situation. Mr. Green said the 3.25 percent was an average.
Mr. Seay questioned what the low and high end was of the 3.25 percent average. Mr. Green stated a teacher finishing their first year would get a ¾ percent increase and the new starting salary of $40,370.
Mr. Havasy stated that he believed Louisa County was paying better than it appeared on paper. Mr. Havasy said because of the cost of living in those competing counties, Louisa wasnt doing as bad as it seemed. Dr. Pettit stated Louisa competed the most with Fluvanna, Albemarle and Orange Counties. Dr. Pettit said the three-year plan was to have the starting salary for new teachers at $42,000, which would have started this fall.
Dr. Pettit said as a group, the School Board and the Board of Supervisors need to be proud of what has been accomplished. Dr. Pettit stated Louisa County wants high quality teachers.
Mr. Barnes said he believed Louisa was competing with different localities because some had more to offer young teachers as far as the atmosphere.
Mr. Seay questioned if the student to teacher ratio was low for K-3rd grades. Dr. Pettit said yes and most teachers in the recruiting pool wanted to teach K-3rd grade. Dr. Pettit said the school district has struggled with getting middle school teachers, math teachers, special education teachers and language teachers.
Mr. Byers questioned who were the classified employees. Mr. Schaffer stated they were bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and instructional assistants.
Mr. Byers asked who were the people not taking advantage of the health insurance before now. Mr. Green said those were employees who were on their spouses plan. Mr. Green said either our plan became less expensive or their spouse lost their job.
Mr. Gentry asked if the teacher salaries were driven by competition, was there anyway to see what other Counties were doing before a decision was made on the amount. Mr. Gentry said he didnt believe that schools in general realize that monies are tight everywhere.
Dr. Pettit said she believed Charlottesville was at five percent. Dr. Pettit said she believed when the State budget came out, superintendents were going to revaluate their raises. Dr. Pettit said the way she got the 3.25 percent was she wanted the starting salary to be at least $40,000. Dr. Pettit said in the three-year plan between the two Boards the goal was to get to $42,000 by this coming year.
Mr. Havasy questioned if the taxpayer was paying for community college tuition. Mr. Schaffer said those monies were reimbursed by the State. Dr. Pettit said most of the community college courses were taught by the high school teachers. Mr. Schaffer said all the monies expect welding course were reimbursed.
Mr. Wright stated the School Board should not only look at Charlottesville when recruiting teachers. Mr. Wright said not to ever make the mistake of thinking the schools could get rid of turnover. Mr. Wright said the School Board needed to make sure it was the right kind of turnover. Mr. Wright explained the right kind of turnover would be the schools that lost 10 percent of their weakest employees and those employees were replaced with better employees. Mr. Schaffer stated most of Louisa County recruitment came from Pennsylvania and Ohio. Mr. Schaffer said the School Board still wanted to be able to compete in order to keep good teachers. Mr. Schaffer stated every replacement teacher would cost $11,000 in training, mentoring, etc.
Dr. Pettit said the School Board had spent the last two years working with the principals and assistant principals on teacher evaluations, classroom observations, setting expectations and giving teachers feedback. Mr. Schaffer said the School Board would bring in special education teachers and what was required by state regulations.
Dr. Pettit said Louisa County needed teachers in the classroom. Mr. Schaffer said the Schools Central Office was very productive.
Mr. Gentry questioned how the School Board determined the amount of raises that they intended to give. Dr. Pettit provided the Board with a handout that showed salary ranges for some surrounding school districts. Dr. Pettit explained Louisa had gotten so far behind with technology assistants. Mr. Wright questioned if the range was the salary grade range or salaries that were actually being paid. Dr. Pettit said they were the grade range. Mr. Wright said the grade range did not mean anything if you didnt have anyone in that range. Dr. Pettit stated the School Board wanted the have something to compare them to. Dr. Pettit said when the School Board gave the principals and assistant principal raises, they looked at the lower end of the range.
Mr. Wright said the handout stated it was highly unusual to have the average and median as the same figures. Mr. Green stated he felt the same way when he did the spreadsheet; however, it was because of the way the numbers fell. Mr. Wright said it was a unique situation.
Mr. Gentry questioned why the School Board would consider giving raises to those who were already above the range. Mr. Schaffer said they were ranges and they were based on longevity. Mr. Schaffer said those positions that were over the range did not have a high turnover rate. Mr. Gentry said that was the danger of giving an increase to everyone. Mr. Schaffer questioned if Mr. Gentry thought if someone was at a certain salary range and was with the schools for 25 years, should they not continue to get at raise. Mr. Harper stated he thought it would top out at some point. Mr. Gentry said with the State, once you reached the top of your range you stayed there until you were promoted.
Mr. Gentry said the School Board has been way behind in technology for some time. Mr. Sestito said he loses 1.5 persons per year. Mr. Sestito stated the employees have left because they could get a $10,000 increase in neighboring counties.
Mr. Harper said the information given by the School Board has been great. Mr. Harper said the Board of Supervisors needed to sit down with Mr. Lintecum and Mr. McLeod to see what the County would be able to give.
Mr. Seay questioned when the Board of Supervisors would be able to give the School Board a figure. Mr. Harper said the Board of Supervisors hadnt had the opportunity to see the numbers yet. Mr. Lintecum said the County did not have a sales ratio at this point either.
Mr. Harper said the Board of Supervisors appreciated everything the School Board had put before them.
Mr. Schaffer said normally at this point, the School Board would need to give the teachers contracts; however, he believed they should wait to hear what the Board of Supervisors were able to give to the schools. Mr. Harper said the Board of Supervisors would work as hard as they could to get the School Board the numbers as soon as possible.
Mr. Gentry questioned if the School Board knew how much they were getting in State funds. Mr. Green said when he checked the State website, it said it was pending. Mr. Green said the Governor hadnt signed anything yet.
Mr. Spencer said he was going to stick with the three percent increase. Mr. Spencer said he had no intention on trying to run the school that was up to the School Board. Mr. Spencer said what the School Board decided to do with the monies they were given was their decision. Mr. Spencer said he appreciated what the School Board had done.
On motion of Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Wright, which carried by a vote of 7-0, the Board voted to recess the March 18, 2008 meeting at 7:14p.m. until March 26, 2008 at 6:00 p.m.
BY ORDER OF
WILLIE L. HARPER, CHAIRMAN
LOUISA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
LOUISA COUNTY, LOUISA, VIRGINIA