Proposed $349.3M budget for Norfolk schools includes increase in staff pay, security and safety improvements

Education
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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Norfolk Public Schools superintendent has released her proposed $349.3-million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, featuring pay raises and bonus incentives for staff, replacing school buses and upgrading technology infrastructure.

The school division sent a news release Thursday night with details about Superintendent Dr. Sharon I. Byrdsong’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, which starts July 1.

As far as compensation, here are the proposed changes:

  • An increase in the starting pay for teachers from $44,220 to $47,000;
  • A step increase in the base salaries for current teachers by an average of 5.1 percent;
  • An increase to the hourly rate of part-time teachers from $25 to $30 as well as an increase in the hourly rate for summer school teachers from $29.27 to $35;
  • A step increase for classified employees, projected at an average of 5 percent;
  • A step increase for administrators, which is projected to raise base pay by an average of 3 percent; and
  • Bonuses/incentives for custodians, bus drivers, and school nutrition staff

It also aims to allocate more resources to students “to support a strong recovery from the pandemic.” That includes additional staff in the areas of reading and mathematics, gifted instruction, special education, English language learning, and foreign language; more professional development for teachers; an extended school day and tutoring program; expanding the Summer Basic Skills program; continuing a psychologist internship program; and continuing Grow-Our-Own programs for reading specialists, mathematics specialists, and assistant principals and principals.

The budget hopes to add five “roving” security officers at elementary schools, more personal protective equipment and other supplies, and more instructional supplies and consumables so students aren’t sharing as much.

Other technology advancements, building repairs and maintenance, and more are also included in the budget.

The budget overall increased 3.6%, or $12.1 million. That increase is a result of an additional $3.7 million from the state and an $8.4 million increase from the revenue-sharing agreement between the City of Norfolk and the school board.

“This last year has been unlike any other that we have experienced. The unique challenges that have unfolded have impacted our community in a variety of ways and caused us to dramatically shift our school division’s operations,” said Byrdsong in the news release. “As we embark upon the journey of returning to in-person instruction, this proposed budget will ensure that we are equipped to welcome students and staff back to safe teaching and learning environments while ensuring adequate safety measures are in place. These five priority areas identify the supports necessary to meet the instructional and social-emotional needs of all of students, as well as reinforce our commitment to investing in our teachers and staff that have worked tirelessly to navigate this evolving educational landscape as a result of this pandemic.”

The budget focuses on “equity and excellence” in certain areas, including:

• Compensation
• Additional Resources for Schools and Students
• Technology Infrastructure and Instructional Supports
• Safety and Security
• Building Maintenance and Repairs

The school board will now review Byrdsong’s proposed budget and vote March 17. It will then move to City Council for consideration.

To read more about the superintendent’s proposed budget, click here.

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