MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Montgomery County teachers earn lower starting pay than all but one school district in the New River Valley.
To help fund 1.5 percent pay increases raises, the board will consider raising real-estate taxes by one and half cents from the current amount of 89 cents to 90.5 point cents.
The median home value in Montgomery County is around $200,000.That means that homeowners' real estate taxes would go up by about $30. Board member April DeMotts said more than 20 people addressed the Supervisors on Thursday night.
"The overwhelming majority of them actually asked that we vote in favor of the tax increase,” DeMotts said.
School board member and parent Penny Franklin was one of those who addressed the board. She sent 10 News a statement about the issue.
"All of MCPS employees do a great job of educating our students. They work long hours and take money out of their own pockets to help support students. Over the last several years we have lost over 50 teaching positions and have been forced to make millions of dollars in cuts to our budget. At some point we have to start getting things back on track. One to one and half percent raise is no were near what we should be giving . Educators across the country are feed up with being asked to do more with less. They have our further in their hands, therefore when we support education we support the well being of the country. At some point the begging has to stop. I am very proud of the dducators who have taken a stand for themselves and our children. As for the need for school resource officers, we live in a time were children don't feel safe in school. How can they learn? SRO's are only part of what has to happen to protect our schools and beyond, therefore the county government needs to pay for the senses of well being in our schools and should not come out of the schools budget."
DeMotts said she will cast her vote based on what the majority of the community wants.
"Overwhelmingly, I've been hearing a very positive to a tax increase so at this point I am inclined to be in favor of it,” DeMotts said.
Board Chairman Christopher Tuck said however, the board can meet school needs without raising taxes.
"My individual thoughts as representative of District B, is that we don't need a tax increase this year,” Tuck said.
He said the board has already set aside nearly $2 million for schools and staff, and that will take care of teacher raises. He said money for resource officers can be found elsewhere.
"Looking within our current budget I believe that we have sufficient funds for important needs,” Tuck said.
Opening the issue for public comment, a public hearing will be held at the Government Center Monday night at 7:15.