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May 10, 2011
The City Council will vote tonight on a budget that will take an additional $9.2 million from the school board budget and use it to increase the raise of city employees to 2.5%. The VBEA has a proposal that will allow the school board to match that 2.5% raise for school board employees as well. Please arrive at the Council meeting tonight sometime between 5 and 5:30. We will be meeting at the tree to the right of the front of City Hall. The meeting will begin at 6:00. Please find below a copy of the VBEA budget compromise that was sent to City Council.
Mayor Sessoms, Vice Mayor Jones and members of City Council, Although the VBEA is pleased to see that city employees will be receiving a 2.5% raise in your newly proposed budget, we are dismayed that the funding for that raise will come in part from school board funds. In an effort to build a compromise that helps everyone, the VBEA has a different approach to the city’s need for $23.7 million. We offer the following recommendations in order to provide a more equitable raise for school board employees :
· Adopt the budget recommended by City Manager Spore. This way the city still receives the benefit of $14.5 million in school risk management money and City Council avoids lowering the schools’ portion of the revenue sharing formula by $9.2 million as is recommended by the mayor and vice mayor.
· How does the city “make up” the $9.2 million it needs? There is a simple answer to that question. Take the $9.2 million from the city’s $102 million fund balance. Remember, you added $7.8 million to your fund balance last year by taking $8.8 million of school board reserves. So you are well-positioned to make that transfer.
· And finally, City Council can demonstrate its commitment to equitable compensation for school employees by allowing the school system to move money into its operating budget from the risk management and technology funds, thereby positioning the school board to turn the 2.5% bonus into a permanent and ongoing salary increase.
The VBEA believes this to be a fair compromise. $14.5 million will still be taken from the school board reserves, all employees in the city would receive a 2.5% raise, and taxes would not have to be increased. The VBEA urges you to support this compromise.