Dr. Dana Bedden has been on the job for only a month as Richmond's new superintendent but Thursday night, he laid out his budget for the Richmond School Board.
The budget totals more than $261 million with a $3.2 million budget gap.
The biggest expense in the budget is pay raises for all school teachers. If approved, teachers would get a three-percent raise, the first raise in several years.
"This is a chance to hopefully show our gratitude for them hanging in there and sticking with us," said Dr. Dana Bedden.
Another big expense is bus replacement. To replace 13 buses would cost $1.1 million over the next fiscal year.
Plus, school board members want to see certain changes made to the budget, which could mean more money.
"We have a lot of work to do in front of us," said Dr. Bedden. "Given the short time period I've been here, this was a reasonable start."
The school board agreed. "I'm glad we're able to include a significant raise for our teachers and staff in the budget and not have that tremendous gap we've seen in the past," said board member Kim Gray.
However, Dr. Bedden admits the $3.2 million gap could grow depending on what is added to the budget and whether Governor Terry McAuliffe and the General Assembly follow through on the money former Governor Bob McDonnell promised to Virginia schools.
Thursday night was the first step in a long process. There will be several budget worksessions and public hearings starting with the first on February 3.
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