The following items were discussed by the Alexandria School Board at its Jan. 21 meeting. For further information, call 988-2100.
1988-89 OPERATING BUDGET -- Superintendent Paul W. Masem proposed a $67 million operating budget that would give teachers an 8 percent salary increase and would gradually eliminate 30 staff positions because of declining enrollment.
The proposed salary increase is smaller than the 9.8 percent increase teachers received this year, but if the budget is adopted by the City Council, it would bring teachers' starting salaries up 6.3 percent -- from $21,620 to $23,000 -- and would increase the average salary from $35,921 to $38,795.
"We must pay what the market demands," Masem said, in presenting his first budget proposal since becoming superintendent last summer. "We simply must compete for the best teaching candidates, not settle for second best."
Masem said his budget proposal, which represents a 4.28 percent increase over the current $64.2 million operating budget, is a realistic one. And he said the 8 percent teacher raise is necessary if Alexandria wants to remain competitive with districts in nearby jurisdictions.
The budget also proposes: $47.5 million for instruction and summer school; $8.7 million for plant operations and maintenance; $3.9 million for miscellaneous items, including the teachers' raises, the school board's contingency fund and the school system's employee assistance program); $2.3 million for administration; $2.2 million for transportation; and $1.4 million for attendance and health services.
The budget proposes about $578,000 for adult education and $457,000 for school food services.
Under the proposed budget nonteachers would get an average pay increase of 5.7 percent.
The School Board and the City Council have tentatively scheduled a joint public hearing on the proposed budget on Feb. 18. The School Board is scheduled to vote on the budget March 3; the City Council will cast its final budget vote in May.
Masem's budget request for the 9,490-student system proposes to eliminate 30 staff positions, mostly teachers, because enrollment is expected to decline to 9,338 next year.
There are about 1,500 employees in the school system. The staff reductions, which will be done mainly through attrition, will save the district about $1.15 million, school officials said.
The proposal calls for the city to pay 78 percent of the budget, or $52.7 million, up 6.75 percent from last year. The state share, which accounts for about 21 percent of the budget, would be $13.9 million. The final one percent come from federal funds and other sources.