School Board approves budget

Competitive teacher salaries was among the Manassas School Board’s priorities Monday when it approved its $68.5 million budget in the 2004 fiscal year.

All employees will receive a 3 percent cost-of-living increase. Teachers and support staff such as janitors would have an average step increase of 3 percent while administrative staff will receive an average step increase of 1.77 percent.

A starting teacher with a bachelor’s degree would be paid $35,505 in fiscal 2004 compared to $34,473 in this fiscal year. A teacher with a master’s degree would be paid $39,883 compared to $38,723 this fiscal year.

“We need to maintain the pace of salary and benefits so we provide a competitive compensation package to all of our employees,” School Board Chairman Arthur Bushnell said Tuesday.

Under Prince William County Schools’ fiscal 2004 budget approved by that board last week, a starting teacher with a bachelor’s degree gets $35,455. The starting salary for a teacher with a master’s is $39,833, said David Cline, Prince William school division’s director of finance.

In Manassas Park, a starting teacher with a bachelor’s degree would be paid $35,086 under the proposed budget for fiscal 2004. A starting teacher with a master’s would be paid $39,386. City council will approve its fiscal 2004 budget April 21 which will include the request by the school board.

The Manassas School Board also reserved an additional $200,000 to fund all-day kindergarten if the board agrees to extend the kindergarten program.

Students attend kindergarten in the morning or afternoon. On March 3, students at Weems and George C. Round elementary schools began all-day kindergarten as a pilot project.

School superintendent Chip Zullinger plans to present a report in May to the board on the pilot programs, Zullinger has said.

Manassas school officials are projecting an increase of 104 students in fiscal 2004 — a projected total of 6,779 students.

The fiscal 2004 plan shows a 4.9 percent increase over the $65.4 million adopted budget for fiscal year 2003.

Under a revenue sharing agreement, the board would receive 56.2 percent of general non-agency city revenue which includes general or property taxes. In fiscal 2004, the board would receive $36.1 million.

The budget covers July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004.

Staff writer Jennifer Brennan can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 123.

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