Danville Public Schools could ask for more money from city for salary scale adjustment

Salary study found district's scale is not in line with surrounding districts

DANVILLE, Va. – The salary scale for Danville Public Schools teachers is not in line with surrounding school districts.

That's according to the consulting firm that is conducting a salary study for the district.

"If we fix our salary scale, we need revenue for that every single year, not just one year," Danville Public Schools Superintendent Stan Jones said.

Jones said one way to get that revenue is to increase the amount of unspent money the city allows the district to carry over for operating expenses from one year to the next.

"We don't know exactly how much yet. In (Thursday night's) draft (budget), we identified $2 million," Jones explained.

He said the city currently has an ordinance that limits the carryover amount to a maximum of $1 million.

At either the next school board meeting or the following meeting, a representative from the consulting firm will present specific recommendations for fixing the salary scale.

"We're not going to be in a position to make our final request to the city until we know what those results will yield," Jones said.

The reason the district always has so much money left over at the end of each fiscal year, Jones said, is because of teacher vacancies.

The district currently has about 30 vacancies.

Each year, the city gives the district enough money to cover as many positions as the district feels is necessary, even if some of the positions are vacant.

If the vacant positions are not filled, the money budgeted for those positions will be unspent at the end of the fiscal year.

Jones said that while budgeting for vacant positions may seem unnecessary, it is actually critical to the district's success.

"If we have a certain ratio in our class sizes, we should budget for that ratio," Jones said. "If we don't budget appropriately, that's immoral in my opinion."

Filling the positions can still result in money being left over at the end of the year, however.

"Suppose a teacher retires who was making $75,000 a year and we hire a new teacher at $39,500. That's a savings," Jones pointed out. "So when we have money left over, it's not because we're inefficient."

Danville city manager Ken Larking was unavailable for comment Friday about if and how increasing the school district's carryover limit could impact the city's budget.

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