New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | April 11, 2021

Pay increases for employees subject matter as superintendent pitches budget request to Charles City Board of Supervisors

By Andre Jones | March 23, 2021 11:07 pm

As budget season approaches, Charles City County Public Schools Superintendent Dalphine Joppy is hoping the county will provide financial support in what is expected to be a difficult year to find educators.

Joppy, along with her staff, formally presented their $6.65 million budget for local funding to county leaders during Tuesday night’s Charles City Board of Supervisors meeting.

After an introduction from School Board Chairman Rodney Tyler, Joppy went into details reflecting the requested funding for FY2021-2022. Among her main focus was providing pay increases to employees. Joppy pointed out to supervisors that the budget includes pay raises for teachers, instructional assistants, and increases minimal wage in several areas as state and federal laws have received approval to up the minimal wage to $9.50 effective July 1. That amount will receive an additional $1.50 boost in January 2022, making the minimal raise $11.00 an hour.

During Joppy’s presentation, District 1 supervisor Gilbert Smith asked about teachers being paid based on their performance, along with student achievement. Joppy responded to the comment of what is usually referred to as merit pay.

“Charles City schools have never used it, but I know it’s something that has been discussed periodically in the education world,” she said. “It’s a lot of different opinions and views on it. An example is a special education teacher working with students. While the student may grow and learn more, a teacher may only receive pay based on test performances. That’s why there has been such a discussion on the topic.”

As Joppy continued her presentation, county leaders questioned the superintendent about the energy performance contract (EPC) the school entered into with ABM Solutions, something supervisors were adamantly against. Joppy touted that entering the contract will solve many issues with the school system while also reducing the CIP (capital improvement plan) request from the county, netting a reduction of $280,436. In total, the school is asking for an increase in local contribution of $315,566, a five-percent increase in comparison to their current budget.

County Administrator Michelle Johnson asked about the school’s decision to exclude a $500,000 wastewater plant replacement project from the budget. Joppy responded by saying that her team had prepared for two budgets, one that included the wastewater project. Johnson also responded, saying that the information and cost of the replacement did not match information she had received. The county administrator followed that up by asking the school board to produce paperwork from a quote they have received.

“I have a wealth of questions about this budget, and I want to make sure I understand and have the answers I need when I make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors,” Johnson said.

Johnson indicated that she expects to present county leaders her recommendations for the FY2021-22 county budget at the regularly scheduled meeting in April.

In other topic area, an update on the rollout of broadband Internet in the county continues to remain a mystery to the county.

Johnson provided an update that said SCS has slowly began expanding to some areas of the county, with at least 10 people having the service and another 15 inquiring about possible connections. When it came to Comcast services, the information became more elusive.

“I requested information about the number of connections themselves, but they [Comcast] said that was proprietary information,” Johnson told the board.

The county administrated followed her statement by saying that the information they received indicated that so far, approximately 1,977 homes would be eligible for connections through Comcast. She also indicated that a few small hiccups will be seen along the way due to the location of the infrastructure.

“If the infrastructure is across the road, then Comcast will have to get a permit from VDOT (Virginia’s Department of Transportation) to bore underneath the road,” Johnson said in conclusion.