NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Norfolk School Board approved a $376.7-million operating budget for 2023 during its Wednesday meeting.

Included in the budget are seven possible bonuses to attract teachers, an increase in starting pay for bus drivers and pay raises for all district employees across the board.

The 2023 operating budget along with a $2,500 employee appreciation bonus passed with a majority vote.

The budget will go to Norfolk City Council for final approval.

Several NPS staff members spoke up during public comment concerned that the proposed raises aren’t nearly enough to keep up with inflation. Some teachers stated the proposed 5.8% average pay raise is half of what Hampton Roads districts are offering next year.

“The school board is stressing up to a 5.8% raise. I can’t pay my bills with what you all pay me,” said Norview High School teacher Natalie Ferrara.

A bus driver also took the podium asking the board to amend the budget so that bus drivers will be paid for taking on extra routes.

“I just want to get compensated for what I do outside of my assigned run,” said bus driver Cora Johnson.

Meanwhile, the board also discussed the facility use master plan. The plan sought to move Madison Alternative School to Lindenwood Elementary, close Lindenwood and move its students to Willard and Taylor Elementary schools. The move would be part of a district-wide consolidation plan to move students out of some of its oldest buildings and relocate them to newer ones.

Ultimately, the board voted to not accept the facility plan and to keep Lindenwood students at their school.