The Falls Church School Board approved a $6.6 million budget last week that includes money for increasing teachers' salaries and hiring additional staff.
All employes of Falls Church's school system, including teaching and nonteaching staff, would get a 4 percent cost-of-living increase. Bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other support staff, such as those who monitor buses with kindergarten children, would receive an additional 5 percent pay differential.
Falls Church School Board Chairman Ellen Salsbury said this differential is intended to attract people to jobs that other school systems in the area have had a difficult time filling.
Board members also voted a $3,800 raise for Superintendent Warren Pace, whose salary will be $60,000. The 6.7 percent pay increase for Pace, city superintendent for the past 14 years, was decided by the School Board to be commensurate with his high marks in a recent performance evaluation, Salsbury said.
"A superintendent in a small system has more duties than one in a large system. We have recently gone through an evaluation of him; he was rated very, very highly by the School Board," Salsbury said.
The Falls Church Educators Association, representing 83 of the school system's 86 teachers, had asked for a minimum cost-of-living increase of 5 percent, said Harry Shovlin, who heads the group.
"We thought it was a reasonable request," Shovlin said. "We were disappointed, but I must say that we didn't have high hopes of getting more."
The six School Board members present unanimously approved the proposed budget of $6,596,723, which is an 8.6 percent increase over the current budget. Because he was sick, member William Ellis was unable to attend the meeting.
The budget includes money to hire a full-time second-grade teacher, a part-time teacher for elementary school physical education, and two part-time teachers to assist in the schools' English as a Second Language program.
Members voted to increase the extra-pay-for-extra-duty funds by 30 percent. Money from the fund is used to supplement the salaries of teachers who direct the schools' extracurricular activities, including sports teams, drama activities, publications and student councils.
Total student enrollment in Falls Church's school system, which was declining several years ago, is projected to rise during the next five years, Salsbury noted. There are now 1,040 students in kindergarten through 12th grade in Falls Church's three schools. Extra classrooms for the primary grades are planned in the upcoming years, Salsbury said.
City Council action on the school budget is scheduled April 22.