Members of the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors and the Gloucester School Board had a cordial meeting about the fiscal year 2013-14 budget last Thursday evening in the Gloucester High School auditorium.
Several topics were discussed, including the General Assembly’s decision to give a percentage of teachers a 2 percent raise and the slight increase in cost estimates for the new Page Middle School.
During its recently-concluded session, the General Assembly amended its 2012-14 biennial budget, funding its part of a 2 percent raise for teachers statewide. The raise is based on the Standards of Quality formula, which would only give a certain number of teachers in Gloucester the raise.
The Gloucester School Board has proposed a 2 percent across-the-board increase for all of its employees to make for a fair and equitable pay raise. The total cost of the pay increases is approximately $769,000, according to the school’s budget and finance director JoAnne Wright. The state will pay approximately $318,000 of the increase.
Ware district supervisor Andy James said in listening to the public, mostly everyone has spoken to no tax raise. "They’re saying, ‘please do not raise my taxes. I don’t want to lose my house,’" James said.
He added that Gloucester’s portion of the 2 percent raise equates to a 1¢ increase on the real estate tax rate. Though James said the teachers definitely deserve an increase, he added that "it’s really easy to say what we’d like to do, but we have to remember this county is between a rock and a hard place now with these taxes … people can’t tolerate it."