At its May 13 meeting, the Albemarle County School Board adopted an operating budget for the 2021-22 school year of $211.2 million, an increase of 9% over the current year. The new fiscal year begins on July 1. The adopted budget represents an increase from the School Board’s Funding Request of $209.9 million presented in March. The changes are summarized in two presentations: Budget Updates (April 22, 2021) and Budget Adoption (May 13, 2021).
The division’s higher revenue results from recovering economies at the state and county levels. These increases have made possible an emphasis next year on improving employee compensation. The school board’s approval of raises next year will make stronger the division’s ability to recruit, develop and retain a competitive work force.
The scale and step increase for teachers will total 5.2% for eligible faculty, and eligible classified staff will see their salaries rise by 4%. All Virginia Retirement System (VRS) eligible employees will earn at least $15 per hour, and some part-time employees will see enhanced health insurance benefits.
Next year’s budget will restore 9.5 positions that were frozen in the current year. Also restored were two programs postponed from a year ago: an expansion of the division’s equity staff and the adoption by all schools of the division’s Short-Term Educational Program (STEP).
One new program is included in the 2021-22 budget: student safety coaches. Focused on best practices for student, employee, and school visitor safety, this team will be housed across secondary schools and serve as a resource for the elementary schools that feed into them. This program is designed to improve school climates, student attendance, and relationships with students.
In his funding request to the school board, Superintendent Haas wrote:
The year ahead offers even more opportunities to prepare our students for lifetime success as we modernize our strategic plan; mature our non-profit foundation to generate private resources to extend innovation and equity; more fully align student learning experiences with real-world employment and post-K-12 education demands; and reach out to more families, partners and employees to attain the best possible decisions for our schools and community …
Challenging times can either pull a team—a community—apart, or pull it together through the creativity and grit of its individual members. I have witnessed the coming together of our students, employees and families throughout 2020-21, and I am very proud to be part of this resilient community. Because of this resilience and the determination, the years ahead will prove prescient, the title of our 2019 message—Albemarle Rising.
To learn more about the budget development process and to access budget materials, including the budget book, slide presentations, live stream recordings, and more, please visit the 2021-22 Budget Development web page.