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March 15, 2019

School system, supervisors agree to more funding

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Superintendent David Jeck calls suggestion that administrators received wholesale salary increases this year “ridiculous.”
We know you (the school board) are trying to fund education the best you can, I understand that. We are trying not to overload the taxpayer.
— Supervisor Holder Trumbo
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Thursday’s meeting between Fauquier’s two elected boards produced none of the red faces and angry exchanges of the recent past.

After years of budget confrontations, the supervisors and school board set aside their differences to reach a compromise.

In the joint work session, the supervisors agreed to provide another $300,000 to help fund teacher raises, bringing the total local funding increase to $3.8 million for the fiscal 2020 budget.

That will raise the local contribution to the school budget to $93 million.

A year ago, the supervisors adopted a non-binding plan that called for just $2.1 million in additional school funding in 2020. They effectively have added $1.7 million to that.

The school budget will total $148.5, assuming the supervisors approve it later this month.

“I’m happy with the outcome and for this community,” school board member Brian Gorg (Center District) said after the meeting. “A way forward to better support our educators was found. The people of Fauquier have stepped up to help address an issue that originates from Richmond . . . . It’s not a perfect solution for educators but sets us on a more sustainable model of compensation.”

The school system will have funding to give all 990 teachers 2- to 15-percent raises based on experience and placement on the step pay scale — a cost of $5.8 million. The plan will alleviate most of the payscale “compression” that has reduced raises for teacher longevity over the last decade.

The school system will have to cut another $234,000 in spending to fund the plan, which still falls about $1.1 million short of its requested budget.

“I think we’ve done an outstanding job of rolling back and looking under every rock and behind every corner, and trying to trim more expenses from the bottom line,” Duke Bland (Marshall) said at the beginning of the meeting, trying to convince supervisors to provide the additional $300,000.

“We are making adjustments in response to the crisis,” Mr. Gorg said of eight teaching and four administrative positions Superintendent David Jeck plans to cut.

The only contentious part of the meeting came when Supervisor Chris Butler (Lee) questioned significant raises some school administrators received in this year’s budget.

“We already talked about how you had a huge turnover rate with custodians and teachers; yet in school year 2019, several increases went to the central office,” Mr. Butler said. “With these (turnover) emergencies in place . . . with some of these lower paid people leaving, how do you justify those increases at the very top of the scale when you have people leaving at record numbers?”

Dr. Jeck explained that job reclassifications produced most of the significant raises for administrators.

“We have 79 administrators in the schools and central office; 18 received that market adjustment,” the superintendent responded. “We announced this in February 2018. Part of my budget proposal was to deal with those compressed employees, because it was less expensive, and then to deal with teachers the following year. The way we justified and came up with roundabout number is the savings from administrator hires from previous years.

“This idea that we took this wholesale increase in central office is ridiculous, because we didn’t,” Dr. Jeck said. “Going back to 2008-09, how many more admin positions were added? Point five. (Half a position.) Those are the facts, as evidenced through data provided by the human resources department . . . .”

Mr. Butler said: “I’m not trying to piss anyone off or tear anything down that’s been built in the last few months, but these are questions people are asking me.”

Last year, “teachers got a 3-percent raise,” Dr. Jeck said. “Everybody got at least a 3-percent rise, and 800 classified employees and 18 (administrators) got a market adjustment.”

Both boards want the state to change the “composite index” that they contend penalizes Fauquier when it comes to school funding.

“The problem is really Fauquier tax dollars go to Richmond and go back to Prince William County,” Supervisor Holder Trumbo (Scott) said.

Fauquier real estate values, household income and retail sales — which factor in the state “composite index” for school funding — all continue to rise. That hurts Fauquier in the competition for financial support from Richmond.

“We certainly need to work with our legislators next summer to address that problem,” Mr. Trumbo said. “We know you (the school board) are trying to fund education the best you can, I understand that. We are trying not to overload the taxpayer.”

The school board will discuss what it can cut to balance their budget next month.

“Our employees will know we have done due diligence in working together and we are working towards our goals and objectives,” Mr. Bland said.

Contact Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-878-6007.
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Tony Bentley · March 21, 2019 at 11:06 am
Now that they received their raises we had better see a better turn out of outstanding students, not just graduating but graduating with honors.

"The school division's graduation rate for students with disabilities “remained strong” at 95 percent, the school board's press release said. The graduation rate for Fauquier County's black students increased to 95.5 percent in 2018 from 88.3 percent in 2017 and beat the 2018 state average rate of 89.6 percent.Oct 2, 2018"

We expect 100% and no less!
Average Joe · March 18, 2019 at 11:18 pm
Points to consider:

1) Ridiculous Raises: 3% to 15%? Has anyone on this forum ever had a 15% raise?

2) Big Benefits: Since 2016, Fauquier teachers’ benefits increased a total of $3,706,283 for a job that has summers off. “[W]e must consider the total – salary and benefits.” reminds us.

3) Fake Funding Cut: Can someone please tell me how a $3,800,000 funding increase turns into a "cut" of $234,000 like the article says? What do they mean by “cut”? The school system is receiving more money, not less!

4) Tax Travesty: $2 out of every $3 of our Fauquier taxes go to the schools. What is enough? Prince William County spends $1.32 out of every $3.

Don’t be hoodwinked. These raises are not a local grassroots effort. It is a massive, coordinated nationwide effort by out-of-state activists called “Red for Ed” organized by the powerful NEA union. (See They have had similar “spontaneous” protests in KY, NC, OK, & WV. In Arizona, they bullied the legislators into giving a 20% raise by 2020. There is very little that is “local” about this.

…But never mind these facts – the teachers’ union says, “It’s for the kids!”

BestKeptSecrets · March 17, 2019 at 10:03 am
Perhaps it is time for someone on the board of supervisors and the school board need to be assigned to data collection. The data being collected needs to include all the neighboring counties public and private schools wages, increases, benefits per educational level.

The community is hearing Culpeper is increasing its starting salaries of new graduate teachers for school year 2019-2020 to $50,000. Most of Fauquier County teachers with 7,8 years of experience and master level are not at $50,000.

Also, does Fauquier County investigate, assess the purchases of the schools? Are they connected with an expensive publisher, or other program??? If so, are there other competitive publishers out there that is just as good or better. If the students scores aren't up to par, is it the teachers fault if they are being forced to use specific programs they don't agree with....
Stacie Griffin · March 15, 2019 at 4:04 pm
Thank you to the Board of Supervisors for working overtime to create a plan that everyone feels good about. As a parent and tax payer, I appreciate your due diligence. Thank you to the School Board and the FCPS finance team for digging deep. I also want to say that we are so lucky to have David Jeck as our Superintendent. He is changing the conversation in our county and leading a movement. The relationship between the BOS and School Board continues to grow in such a respectful manner. Thank you all. We have great educators who I respect and admire. This county could not pay you enough or thank you enough for what you do every single day, but please know that you are appreciated. We also have dedicated administrators who work all year long (12 months) creating new opportunities, new vision and curriculum that will benefit our children now and for many years to come. Much respect to all of you.
Jim Griffin · March 15, 2019 at 2:50 pm
Good deal: The agreement you make is always better than one imposed on you.

Index change unlikely: Counties that gain under current "true value" taxation will lose funding if "use value" taxation (like Fauquier) is equalized in the index. Something will need to be traded to them to change the outcome of numerous previous defeats.

In a straight up political calculation, it is unlikely the majority will agree to change and take a hit on their revenue in the interest of more government land use controls and cash for Fauquier. It is an allocation formula with winners/losers and we're likely to keep losing when we dip our govt's hand into what should be a free market for land.

The answer to teacher low pay is not low admin pay. We must retain/attract both, show all a path to promotion and fair pay.
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