During one of the quickest meetings this year, the Loudoun County School Board reconciled the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.
School board members had to close a $5.5 million gap. After holding two brief work sessions, each around an hour in length, the board passed the new budget after a four minute discussion.
“That is an amazing accomplishment. I’d like to thank my colleagues and staff for completing reconciliation in record time,” Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said.
The board unanimously passed the budget with staff’s recommended cuts along with one amendment — instead of cutting teacher’s co-curricular stipends, Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) moved to cut funds for furniture replacements in order to give teachers the stipends.
Hornberger said the stipends have only been increased by 1 percent in the past five years which has not coincided with inflation. Stipends are given to teachers who take on extra responsibilities without receiving compensation. Without stipends, LCPS could lose teachers to other school districts, Hornberger said. He also said that LCPS can allocate left over funds from the previous fiscal year to cover the furniture replacements, but the stipends would have to come from the FY18 budget.
“For those who maybe don’t understand how stipends work, this is in no way, shape or form pay that is equivalent to the salary they receive as teachers. They do it because they love what they do, the stipend is just a way to help support them,” Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) said. “I think they really deserve more as a stipend but this is a really good gesture for us to do.”
Joy Maloney (Broad Run) was absent for the vote.