Loudoun School Board Advances Plans for $1K Employee Bonuses

The Loudoun County School Board and budget staff are hoping to give out $1,000 bonuses to all employees who didn’t previously receive bonuses thanks to a new tranche of state funding, even though the state money isn’t enough to cover the strings attached to it.

With the state finally passing a budget months after the regular General Assembly session adjourned, the school division expects to receive $15.1 million more than it budgeted for. However, the budget also came with new requirements for the school district—for example, $1.6 million to support a new mandate to provide one reading specialist per 550 students in kindergarten through third-grade, just over 40 new reading specialists, which school budget staff estimates will cost $6.9 million.

Similarly, the state budget calls for $1,000 bonuses—or however much is best to maximize the use of funds, at the school division’s discretion—and includes $8.1 million for that. However, school budget staff estimates giving out $1,000 bonuses will cost $11.1 million.

In all, the new state funding falls roughly $3 million short of what the school division will use it for, according to the budget staff. But they say the school district can cover that difference so long as the county board, which controls the school district’s spending authority, simply authorizes the additional $15.1 million in state funding.

“While we’ve provided targeted bonuses to small groups of employees in specific roles over the past two years, we were not able to do what pretty much every other nearby school district did in providing a bonus to all school district employees,” said School Board Vice Chair Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge) at their meeting Tuesday, June 28. “…It is past time to do so.”

But the Board of Supervisors has another option, which it has exercised in the past—recognize the new state funding for schools, but reduce the county’s contribution by up to the same amount, effectively keeping the school district’s budget the same but reducing the county budget by $15.1 million.

School Board members and Superintendent Scott Ziegler expressed confidence that the Board of Supervisors would simply pass along the new state money.

“We have stated our case, we have indicated that it is no change to the county’s contribution, and this is simply pass-through from the state which is earmarked for education,” said School Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles).

Even if the Board of Supervisors simply passes on the state money, Chief Financial Officer Sharon Willoughby said, there is still some uncertainty on the exact bonus amount as staff members work to hash out the details. Worst case scenario—with only the $8.1 million the state provided for bonuses—would be $500 bonuses, she said. If the Board does not pass along any additional funding the School Board will be back at work on the budget chopping off an $18 million funding shortfall.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the new state funding on July 19.

4 thoughts on “Loudoun School Board Advances Plans for $1K Employee Bonuses

  • 2022-06-29 at 1:29 pm

    If truth be told, I’m not a big fan of bonuses. LCPS workers already are paid quite handsomely, especially the top administrators. I think these bonuses set a terrible precedent. Instead, we need an austerity budget during these tough times. Happy St. Peter & St. Paul Day Loudoun!

  • 2022-06-29 at 1:51 pm

    Great idea – give bonuses to employees to help them with summer time when they are NOT WORKING! What part of the state statute REQUIRING utmost efficiency to be the guideline for school board members to manage LCPS is not clear? This deserves a shame on you award! If voters actually show up in the next local election it might be clear what they think of the lack of prudent management no matter what partisan BS is being pumped at that time. 🙂

  • 2022-06-29 at 3:31 pm

    Can we property tax owners get a $1000 rebate for a school district that did nothing useful for 18 months?

  • 2022-06-30 at 8:27 am

    Pay teachers more, and forget the bonus. First, the money is taxpayer money. So it shouldn’t be up to them to dolt it out for bonuses. Second, teachers much rather have higher wages versus a one time bonus that will be half of that due to taxes.

    From the comments above, however, clearly you have not worked in a school building as a teacher, counselor, etc. Their day is non-stop. No breaks, no lunch. Just constant work work work due to needy children and the LCPS administrators and school board forcing them to do more and more so that every child needs are met. Meanwhile, the kids disrespect the teachers daily because they know they won’t get in trouble, and administrators and the LCSB show no respect for their efforts or time.

    Further, teachers are not paid well. The pension plan is not great. And teachers are sometimes having to pay for their own supplies.

    Are there bad teachers? Absolutely. So I get that argument. I do wish that we can set high standards for teachers where the system can also fire them if they are not meeting such standards. I bet most teachers would be OK with that, especially if they got paid much more.

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