Teachers and county employees will get raises
CRAIG COUNTY – When the new $12.5-million budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 goes into effect the first of July, all full-time school employees and county employees will see a 2-percent raise reflected in their paychecks.
That is a move that Superintendent of Schools Ron Gordon has fought for ever since work on the school budget began in March. The total budget is $12,537,144.
At a joint meeting with the Craig County Board of Supervisors in March, Superintendent Gordon said he thought the No. 1 priority in the upcoming budget should be raises. The last pay increase for school employees was in 2008 when they received a 1.7-percent step increase; some getting more than others. County employees received a 2-percent raise at the same time.
Trying to find funding for raises for school employees was something that sent the recently approved $7,219,373 school budget back to the drawing board several times because of the long list of needs the schools have. They include everything from buses to repairs of the heating and cooling system to renovations (capital improvements) to the hiring of additional teaching staff in order to meet state mandate.
And then there are the ongoing small project needs for which Fred Craft, Supervisor for the Craig City District, told school board members the money is already in their budget and members should go on and put them out to bid and get them done.
Earlier on in the budget’s planning stage the county’s contribution to the schools would have been in excess of $2 million to which supervisors contended would take a 14-cent tax increase just to meet the needs of the schools.
Craig County Board of Supervisors Chairman Millie Harrison said with the economy so bad it is not the time to raise taxes to give raises to teachers when the majority of tax payers in the county can’t afford to pay the taxes they already owed.
School Board Chairman Jim Stevens brought up the point that many of the teachers were upset because they saw the county buying land for the school. “The county through the Industrial Development Authority purchased the property that now houses the school board office,” Superintendent Gordon said. “We are leasing the property for $1 a year for the next 20 years from the IDA.”
Now although raises for school employees have been worked into the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, that still leaves some people scratching their heads wondering where the money will come from after that.