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Notes: Discontent within ACPS over lack of ‘cost of living adjustment’ in budget

Good Friday morning, Alexandria!

🌤️ Today’s weather: The weather will transition from cloudy to mostly sunny, reaching a high of around 49 degrees. Expect a light northwest wind in the morning, which will become a north wind at 9 to 14 mph, with possible gusts up to 21 mph. Friday night will be mostly clear with a low of approximately 32 degrees, as the north wind continues at 8 to 11 mph.

🚨 You need to know

School buses preparing at Alexandria City High School (staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria City High School’s student newspaper Theogony reported discontent within the community over a lack of cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) staff.

Cost of living adjustments help employees manage rising prices for things like housing and food, essentially counteracting inflation.

The proposed budget includes a step increase for teachers — an increase in pay based on experience — but Theogony reported that teachers argue the step increases should be an addition to the adjusted pay for cost of living.

Theogony also said that the step increase system is not balanced — some teachers who have been teaching just as long are at different ‘step’ levels than others, and new teachers entering ACPS sometimes leap over longtime ACPS staff.

But Theogony said School Board Chair Michelle Rief said a 1% COLA would cost $2.7 million and require a 2-3% increase in funding from the city.

The School Board is scheduled to adopt the budget on Thursday, Feb. 22, which will then be part of City Manager Jim Parajon’s budget presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 27. The City Council will adopt the final budget on June 6.

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