STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton school leaders passed a budget Monday night that includes employee raises and several new hires.
Also, a couple of parents are asking for students to return to school full time.
The Staunton School Board unanimously passed a $40.5 million budget for the 2022 school year. It includes a 4% raise for all school employees, plus an additional 2% for operations staff.
The budget also contains 19 new positions to meet special education and ESL demands, custodial and maintenance needs for the bigger high school, and critical positions cut from last year’s budget.
“We’re going to be dealing with tremendous learning loss, mental health support we’ll need to provide,” said Staunton Schools Superintendent Dr. Garett Smith. “And so what we’ve tried to do is strategically target these positions to address those areas of need. Our work’s really going to start when we get all of the children back in school.”
For a couple of parents who spoke during the school board meeting that can’t happen soon enough.
“By continuing to keep our children out of school we’re depriving them of basic human needs - the need to connect with other people and to learn through socialization. Humans are social beings,” stated Staunton mom Elizabeth Shreckhise. “With all the teachers vaccinated and the virtual option still in place for those who want it there is simply no reason that we should not return to school five days a week.”
Right now, the budget is balanced, but if the Governor supports a 5% pay increase for teachers, school leaders will have to come up with about $250,000.