Lt. Gov. makes pitch for governor's education agenda in Lynchburg
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
News & Advance
Lynchburg education, business and government leaders got the chance Tuesday to respond to Gov. Bob McDonnell's sweeping new education initiatives during a presentation by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling at the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce.
Workforce development, through education, should be a top priority in Virginia, Bolling told about 30 people in attendance. He made a sales pitch for the governor's education agenda, including a potential 2 percent pay raise for teachers and other instructional staff.
Other proposals include new reading and algebra readiness initiatives and the institution of "A" through "F" report cards for schools' performance.
Lynchburg City Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand expressed enthusiasm for the potential raise for employees during his introduction of Bolling. Later, during a question-and-answer session, City Councilman Turner Perrow voiced concern the measure could put Lynchburg's local government on the hook financially.
According to Charles Pyle, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Education, McDonnell has proposed the state contribute toward a 2 percent raise for school division instructional staff, whose positions already are funded in part by the state.
How much the state contributes would depend on each locality's composite index score, a calculation of the proportion of money the state believes a division should pay in order to meet the state's Standards of Quality.
Essentially, the state would pay almost all of the proposed 2 percent raise for those employees for Virginia's least affluent localities and very little of it for the most affluent counties.
Moreover, school divisions that want to give an across-the-board raise for all employees have another obstacle. The governor's proposal doesn't touch raises for non-instructional staff like bus drivers or custodians, or for instructional staff who are paid entirely by local school divisions.
That part was the concern raised by Perrow.
He told Bolling that Lynchburg's schools have many employees not funded at all by the state. Providing a raise for these employees, he said, would be costly for the city in a time of economic hardship.
"We are stretched," he said, adding historically Lynchburg has lagged behind many other localities in Virginia when it comes to economic recovery following a recession.
He asked if state leaders would consider additional relief to localities in compensation.
Bolling told Perrow he has sympathy for local government leaders and the challenges they face.
"I understand that stuff runs downhill," he said.
For additional information contact Ibbie Hedrick at 804-225-2487 or email@example.com.