FRONT ROYAL – The Warren County School Board approved the division’s fiscal year 2020 operating budget during a special meeting on Wednesday.

The final budget will be $59,339,569, which is $255,324 less than what the School Board had requested from the Board of Supervisors, which approved the county’s budget on Tuesday night after a public hearing on a tax increase.

School Board Clerk Robert Ballentine said the school division should be able to make up $246,492 of that money due to the county taking on the responsibilities of groundskeeping at the schools.

Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher said he was grateful to the community for its support in getting the budget passed and the district staff for their hard work on the budget. He also praised the Board of Supervisors for approving much of the budget the division had requested.

“I think what they did was they thought ahead,” Drescher said “That was one of the big comments by numerous people. They said to think about what’s going to happen in five to 10 years. It’s not just about now. It’s about thinking ahead.”

The passage of the school budget will allow the division to proceed with the School Board’s plan to begin increasing teacher salaries. In the school budget, $1,150,035 will go toward a 3% raise for all school employees, while $1,089,000 of the budget will go toward phase one of the board’s three-phase plan to increase the pay scales for teachers in Warren County to be competitive with other school divisions.

Phase one will focus on teachers who have 11-25 years of teaching experience. Phase two — which will focus on teachers with zero to 10 years of experience — and phase three — which focuses on teachers with 26-30 years of experience — are planned to be rolled out over the next few years.

The School Board approved a draft of the pay scales that will be used throughout the three-phase process. The board will discuss the pay scales further at Wednesday’s work session.

– Contact Donald Lambert at dlambert@nvdaily.com