WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County School Board members on Thursday approved the division's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
The plan will now go to county Board of Supervisors.
Superintendent Mark Johnston in December presented his proposed CIP forecast through 2025. The total requested amount is $15,512,567.
The majority of items on the list are maintenance-related. Transportation, such as replacement of school buses, makes up the next largest category.
Johnston’s proposed new requests make up $3,016,101 of the CIP budget. Some new requests in the plan include boiler replacements for a total of $585,000. The plan calls for the Signal Knob Middle School boiler to be replaced in fiscal year 2021, the North Fork Middle School's boiler in fiscal year 2022, and the Peter Muhlenberg Middle School's boiler in fiscal year 2023.
Last year, the supervisors approved the funding of $1 million for the CIP.
Shenandoah County Education Association President Jeff Rudy spoke to the board during the public comments part of the meeting. He asked that in the budgeting process for the 2020-2021 school year the board keep in mind pay raises for all Shenandoah County Public School employees.
“As we know, Governor Northam has proposed a paltry 3 percent raise for the next two years. This is disappointing to hear from our governor,” Rudy said.
Rudy explained that last year's cost for school health insurance skyrocketed 20%.
He pointed out that the pay scale is not keeping pace with other surrounding counties, causing the school division to lose quality employees.
“The SCEA is supporting the VEA’s (Virginia Education Association) recommendation of a 5% pay raise for each of the next two school years,” Rudy said.
He asked Superintendent Mark Johnston and the board to pay special attention to staff like bus drivers, custodians, instructional aides, cafeteria workers and substitute teachers who deserve a living wage.
“They have some of the most difficult responsibilities, yet the lowest pay,” Rudy said.
Edinburg resident Stephen Curtis spoke to the board.
“Mr. Rudy’s comment that he wants 10 percent over the next two years is shocking,” Curtis said. “It does not mean we don’t love our teachers.”
He invited people to drive around the county and see the homes of residents.
“Families here are not wealthy,” Curtis said.