School system employees got a portion of what they wanted Jan. 18 when Fayette County Board of Education members voted unanimously to restore 1.5 percent of the 4.5 percent pay cut from 2009 that took effect in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
The 1.5 percent restoration came at the recommendation of Superintendent Jeff Bearden.
The school board last year returned another 1.5 percent as a one-time payment. Unlike the one-time payment last year, the restoration Jan. 18 will modify the employee pay scale, something teachers depend on since it is the pay scale that figures prominently into the amount they receive after retirement.
The restoration in dollar terms amounts to just over $1 million for the remainder of the current fiscal year, said Comptroller Laura Brock.
“It will cost close to $2 million for all of next year,” Brock said of the pay restoration.
Prior to the vote, board member Terri Smith asked Brock if the restoration of pay would be sustainable. Brock responded, citing a number of concerns going into the upcoming fiscal year that begins in July, adding that the school system could experience as much as a $10 million deficit next fiscal year.
Brock also noted concerns over the loss of federal funds to the states, increases in employee healthcare costs and the ongoing reality of a declining local tax digest that generates fewer tax dollars for the school system.
“And we still don’t know about state cuts this year,” Brock added.
After a brief discussion the board voted unanimously to restore the 1.5 percent.