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UPDATED: Manassas Park School Board Approves $36 Million Budget

Budget includes salary scale adjustments and salary supplements for most Manassas Park City Schools employees.

EDITOR'S NOTE: There were several discrepancies in the original version of this story. The story has been updated and now reflects more accurate information.

Manassas Park City Schools board members approved a $36 million budget for fiscal year 2012 Monday.

 All the members, with the exception of Ron Gill who was absent from Monday’s meeting, voted in favor of the budget.

 School board members, administrators and staff took many steps to get to the point of budget approval, including a

 Beginning in January, school officials began asking for stakeholder input on the budget while superintendent Dr. Bruce McDade said he held meetings with directors within the school division about the budget and hosted a public forum  about the matter on Jan. 24.

 On to the school board, slightly less than the $36,011,454 that was approved by the board Monday.

 Manassas Park City Schools Finance Director Krista Kelly said in the past few weeks, there was a revenue adjustment of about $300,000 in additional funds received by the school district upon finalization of the state budget. 

In total the school system expects to receive $1.2 million in revenue over that received in fiscal year 2011.

 Of that $1.2 million, about $669,000 was received from the state.  Some reasons for the additional money are: Increases in state sales tax, an increase in the amount of money the state contributes to the Virginia Retirement System and more lottery-funded programs.

 About $400,000 in additional funds is expected from the city of Manassas Park because of a 5.5 percent increase in property value assessments. The city gives 57 percent of any revenue not committed to another city operation to the school division as part of a revenue-sharing agreement.

 About 70 percent of that $400,000 will go toward school division operations while 30 percent will go for debt service, which is expected to increase $100,000, Kelly said.

 The approved budget includes an increase in employer contributions to the VRS and the adding of five new positions, she said.  Also included will be an adjustment to the salary scale for the transportation employees who are on pay levels  one through 10.  Traditionally, a pay level equates to a year of service within the school system.  Some people with experience prior to hire may start at a higher pay level.

This change was important in helping the school system become more competitive with the other northern Virginia school systems, school administrators said.

 The budget also includes money for most employees to get a one percent salary supplement, Kelly said.

 That one percent is calculated on employees’ base pay only—not base pay plus any additional compensation they get because of advanced degrees or special positions they hold, she said.

 School system employees who will not get the bonus are: transportation employees that are affected by the salary scale adjustment, superintendents, directors and principals.  .

 The news of the salary scale adjustment and salary supplement is likely welcomed as the proposed budget presented on Feb. 7 said that raises in pay were unlikely, but would be given if possible.

After the budget was approved, board member Tricia Rhodes thanked school division administrators for making budget season, “a smooth process.”

 Other board members echoed Rhodes’ praise.

 “I don’t see how you (all) do it,” board chairman Michael Wine said to the administrators Monday. “  ... You are the greatest, simply the greatest.”

 School officials will discuss the budget further on Tuesday at a Town Hall meeting at the Manassas Park Community Center at 7 p.m.

 There, residents will be able to meet school board members, governing body members and other city officials and discuss their concerns with them.

School officials will formally present the approved budget to Manassas Park City Council on April 5.

 Just before the approval of the budget, eighth graders Jackson Geer and Elizabeth Swanson from Manassas Park Middle School read aloud letters they’d written to McDade in their language arts classes.

 McDade said he received some 250 letters as part of a persuasive writing exercise the students did in preparation for the Virginia State Standards of Learning (SOL) testing.

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