School Board raises pay, premiums for employees

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

WOODSTOCK — On Wednesday, the Shenandoah County School Board approved a 2-percent salary increase for school employees, but decreased its share of employees’ health insurance costs as part of the final adjustments to the school division’s fiscal 2017 budget.

Starting July 1, division employees will also receive a 1 percent cost of living adjustment as part of their salary increase, which is provided by more than $253,000 in state funds.

Active employees on the division’s “employee-only” health plan will have to pay 3 percent of their insurance premiums. Subsequently, employees on the cheapest health plan would pay a $14.88 monthly premium.

The division currently pays 100 percent of insurance costs.

School Board members voted 5-0 during its work session to approve the funding as one of three scenarios of how to use the more than $1 million that remains unpledged in the division budget.

The approved scenario, called Option A, includes funding for the hirings of a math teacher, librarian, assistant principal and one-semester drama teacher for North Fork Middle School.

It also included full preschool funding, a one-semester drama teacher for Signal Knob Middle, a full-time nurse at Strasburg High, funding for the second year of the Biomedical Sciences Academy at Central High and $6,600 for the purchase of Probeware.

Option A’s funding totaled $1.35 million. The approved funds were offset by a reduction in the transportation budget, heating budget adjustment, restructuring of the division’s courier position and salary differentials estimated through employee attrition and retirement.

The cuts totaled more than $316,000.

The county Board of Supervisors allocated $25.1 million in school operating funds for fiscal 2017. That is the same amount as the division received this year, and $2.6 million less than it requested.

Superintendent Jeremy Raley said none of the three scenarios were ideal, but that the board needed to make tough choices.

“There are significant needs that we are not going to be able to fund,” he said. “So we’re going to make the best of what we have.”

Board members Karen Whetzel, Richard Koontz, Katheryn Freakley, Irving Getz and Sonya Williams-Giersch approved the funding. Cyndy Walsh left the work session early and did not vote.

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