Richmond School Board Passes FY23 Budget and Increases Salary for Bus Drivers | Education


The Richmond School Board voted on Tuesday to increase bus driver wages to $23 an hour and approved recommendations to cover funding shortfalls to balance the upcoming budget.

The enacted budget of $557.7 million for fiscal year 2023 is broken down into a general fund of $354.2 million, a special revenue budget of $201.1 million, and a capital improvement budget of $2.4 million.

The Virginia General Assembly recently approved budgets for the current fiscal year and the next two years beginning July 1, which RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras said resulted in a loss of $2.1 million from funds for the school division.

However, the district’s deficit fell to about $1.2 million because some of the state funding was for programs that required local RPS matching. When funding for the program dwindled, RPS’ home game also dwindled, Kamras said Tuesday.

(The General Assembly is expected to meet on Friday to consider budget amendments proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.)

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Kamras recommended balancing the spending plan for the coming fiscal year by increasing budgeted Medicaid reimbursement revenue from $1 million to $1.75 million and either reducing the division’s maintenance budget line. $516,774, or by reducing certain university service contracts by the same amount. University contracts would be temporarily funded by federal stimulus funds. The school board ultimately chose the latter.

Kamras also offered to spend $800,000 to raise the pay of bus drivers to $23 an hour. To pay for this, funds would be transferred from university services to the division’s federal stimulus budget.

The hourly wage increase would make RPS “the highest-paying division in central Virginia,” Kamras said. There is also a $3,500 signing bonus for drivers with a commercial driver’s license.

“I think we can all agree that getting kids to school on time and making sure we don’t have the resulting cascade of problems is critical,” Kamras said.

The budget adjustments (Medicaid reimbursement and reduction in the University Services contract) and the increase in the salary of bus drivers went to 7-0 on Tuesday evening. Vice President Kenya Gibson (District 3) and School Board member Liz Doerr (District 1) were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Fourth District school board member Jonathan Young was the first board member Tuesday night to voice support for the $516,744 college service contract cut. School board member Cheryl Burke, who represents the 7th District, also backed the second option after realizing it would be covered by federal funding.

The board, without any discussion, also voted 7-0 to accept the salary scale for fiscal year 2023 which begins July 1.

It includes an updated pay scale for bus drivers, a 5% increase for all contract staff and a 1.17% step increase for all employees on an unpacked pay scale, Michelle Hudacsko said on Tuesday. , Chief of Staff to the Superintendent.

(Wage compression occurs when new hires earn the same or more pay as long-serving employees due to increased starting salaries.)

After the pay scale vote, Young acknowledged “the outstanding work” done by his school board colleagues and the superintendent’s team, “to significantly increase the compensation of our teachers” since Young joined the board.


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