A Metro article yesterday incorrectly reported the vote of Prince William County Supervisor G. Richard Pfitzner. He voted yes on a resolution to support legislation in the General Assembly that would enable the county to choose a countywide chairman.
The Virginia education lobby turned out in full force today to oppose all or parts of a plan, backed by Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, that would change the formula for state funding of local schools.
While opponents "raised some valid points," said Sen. Hunter Andrews (D-Hampton), "it's dollars they're talking about, and everyone is going to get more" under the plan, which would increase state aid to schools by $376.3 million in the next two years.
Andrews, chairman of the joint meeting of the education subcommittees of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees, said it appeared that many of the objections related to the state mandating certain actions -- especially a 10 percent pay raise for teachers -- rather than the actions themselves.
Although no one from Northern Virginia testified at the meeting, the Fairfax County schools issued a statement today saying the governor's proposed budget for 1986-88 will cost the state's largest school system $4.4 million, a decrease in anticipated state aid of 2.6 percent.
Brenda F. Cloyd, president of the 40,000-member Virginia Education Association, which represents teachers, supported the plan to require school systems to pass on money for 10 percent raises to teachers, or face the loss of $146 per pupil in state aid next year. She said that in the past, "a sizable number of localities decreased their local financial support for education" after the legislature increased state funding.
But Cloyd said the education association is "concerned that 20 or 30 localities, employing 40 to 50 percent of the classroom teachers in the state, could be exempt" from the mandated salary increases because average teacher salaries there exceed $24,537 a year.
She said these localities, including Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun, Prince William and Manassas, are those "where the cost of living is higher and competition for highly qualified professional employes is extremely keen."
A goal of the additional state aid is to raise average teacher salaries in Virginia above the projected national median of $26,897 in the second year of the budget.
Most of the witnesses at the meeting applauded the extra money for schools, but decried a change in the formula, proposed by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, by which state aid is allocated.
The basic difference is that the current formula uses statewide averages to determine funding costs, while the legislative commission gives less weight to the school systems that spend the most and the least on education.
The state Department of Education, using the present formula, calculated it would cost an additional $395.9 million to fully fund the minimum state requirements. The method used by the legislative commission would have cut that figure to below $200 million.
But outgoing governor Charles S. Robb, while endorsing the commission's approach, included an extra $180 million to the proposed appropriation to lessen the effects of a sudden change in the formula, in use since 1972.
William C. Bosher Jr., superintendent of Henrico County schools on Richmond's north side, said the "time may be coming" when school systems must ask of rising teacher salaries, "How much is enough?" He was one of several speakers who warned against requiring a 10 percent pay raise for teachers without taking into consideration what that would do to nonteaching employes.