While the Mathews County School Board voted Tuesday night to adopt its 2012-2013 operating budget and forward it to the board of supervisors for consideration, those numbers are bound to change as the General Assembly has yet to approve its own budget.
School board members unanimously adopted the $12.395 million operating budget during the meeting, which was held in the Mathews High School media center.
The proposed budget does reflect one significant change that has come from Richmond, a change involving Virginia Retirement Service payments.
A proposed increase in VRS payments has been one of the major drivers of the budget which has forced the school system to consider layoffs for 27 employees, with the rate going from approximately 8 percent of an employee’s salary to 16.7 percent.
Now, instead of making such a drastic jump, the General Assembly is proposing to increase the school division’s share to 11.66 percent, with employees having to pay the additional 5 percent out of their own paychecks. In order to do this, though, the school division would have to provide "credible compensation" for the money being taken out of their checks, according to Superintendent of Schools David J. Holleran.
On the surface, Holleran said, it would appear to be a wash: the division would pay employees an additional 5 percent and then have VRS take that 5 percent from their paychecks. However, that doesn’t take into consideration such things as FICA payments, he said. As a result, the school division would have to give employees an increase of approximately 6 percent to make up the difference, he explained.