Pay raises, school funding all discussed in Mayor’s proposed budget

Posted at 12:52 AM, Mar 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-14 00:52:25-04

RICHMOND, Va.  -- In Mayor Dwight Jones' budget presentation Friday afternoon, the importance of education was echoed throughout his speech.

The Richmond School Board asked for $160 million, which many say is crucial for the school system.

"It's absolutely important," said one Richmond resident, "The children that are in school now are going to be taking care of the city in 20 to 30 years."

However, Jones is proposing nearly $137 million in local funding in schools. That is $2.1 million more than last year.

"If anyone recalls last year, we took back truancy so that increase is truancy funding that came over with the staff," said RPS Board member, Kim Gray.

Jones also wants an additional $10 million for what he calls to help fill empty seats in schools.

Richmond School Board Vice Chair Kristen Larsen said conditions of that money aren't clear. Larson added that this is just a stop in the budget process, and they will be working with City Council.

However, she said she wants everyone to be fully aware how this could impact the students if all the funding is not received.

Jones is also proposing a plan to give police and firefighters a pay raise.

"I'm glad that they are addressing what has been a problem that we have tried to bring in in the past," said Keith Andes with the Richmond Firefighters Assocation.

Police and firefighters graduating from the academy could see an increase from $38,000 a year to $41,500 a year.

In 2017, that could go up to $42,000

For police and fire recruits, that money will increase from $36,500 to $41,000

"You want the best person here, the most educated, the most trainable person to buy into what the city is offering," said Andes.