Falls Church School Superintendent Warren Pace has proposed a $9.3 million budget to operate the city's school system during fiscal 1989, a nearly 13 percent increase over the $8.2 million current budget.
Nearly 65 percent of the $1.06 million recommended increase would be used to boost salaries and fringe benefits for the system's 100 teachers, seven administrators and 70 support staff members.
The plan would raise the salary scales of all school employees by 6 percent.
Pace said his proposal reflects virtually all of the recommendations of a new teacher salary group that has been working with administrators since the spring to reach agreement on a pay plan.
The new budget would increase the salary of starting teachers by 6 percent, from $22,000 to $23,320, a level higher than what is currently being considered by Fairfax school officials.
At the same time, the proposal would increase the average teacher salary by about 9 percent from $33,236 to $36,291.
"It is my belief that employee morale throughout the school system is currently high and that the proposed salary increase will contribute to the continuation of this positive attitude," Pace said in a message to the School Board.
"Improved salaries must be given top priority even though emphasis has been placed upon salary improvement during the past two years."
This year, for the first time, the city's starting teacher salary was among the highest in Northern Virginia, the result of a two-year effort by school officials to boost pay to a more competitive level.
Starting salaries in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties last fall were $21,710, $22,000, $21,000 and $21,575, respectively. In Alexandria, the starting salary was $21,620.
The proposal would boost the pay of teachers at the upper end of the scale by an average of 7 percent.
Teachers with a master's degree plus 30 hours with at least 15 years of experience -- about 17 instructors -- would be paid $45,241 next year, or about $3,000 more.
Under the proposal, several programs would be expanded, including the English as a second language program and a speech-language program for learning-disabled students at Mount Daniel Elementary School.
The budget funds about four new employee positions next year: a teacher, an aide, a paraprofessional and a custodian.
Falls Church Schools Business Manager Wayne Moore said the school system is anticipating an increase next fall of six students, which would bring enrollment to 1,139.
According to Moore, $176,334 of the proposed budget increase would be used to pay debts, while about $83,000 would be used to maintain facilities and buy new equipment.
Under Pace's proposal, the city's share of the school budget would be about $7.4 million, a 17 percent increase over the $6.3 million paid by the city this year.
The proposed budget anticipates $60,974 in federal aid, $991,605 in state aid and $490,000 in sales tax revenue.
Revenue projections include an anticipated $190,000 in unspent funds from the current fiscal year.
The School Board is expected to adopt the budget for submission to the City Council Feb. 17.
The board will hold public budget hearings Wednesday and Feb. 2.