Educators roast school budget

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The Education Association of Alexandria took a swing at the school boards proposed $232 million fiscal year 2012 budget at the publics first chance to weigh in Thursday night. 

Gina Miller, EAA president, thanked school officials for including staff step increases before criticizing them for slashing positions and forcing employees to cover more of their medical and pension costs. 

In the long run an overall movement in the step ladder does benefit all employees, she said. We feel that this budget gives us a step and then takes it back inch by inch.

Miller also praised the board for separating the proposal to add 30 minutes to classroom time from a second push to extend the school year by two days. Asking staff to work longer with no extra pay is unacceptable, she said. 

Adding time without corresponding pay is not treating us like professionals, Miller said. 

Aside from EAAs opposition to some portions of the budget, the school board fielded a request from Artur Kalil, girls tennis coach at T.C. Williams, for building courts at the citys sole high school. 

ACPS is paying to drive the tennis teams to courts in Fairfax County to play, costing the city money and eating into their athletes time, which could be better served studying or in class, he said. 

Kalil noted Fairfax residents were sometimes less than pleased to find the courts taken up by Alexandrias student athletes. 

We rent out these courts from Fairfax County and weve had confrontations with local taxpayers who arent happy with us taking away courts from them, he said. On a few occasions its escalated a little bit.

Chairman Yvonne Folkerts told Kalil the board would consider the proposal as they put the finishing touches on the budget. Staff will present the budget and the proposed capital improvement plans to city officials in March. 

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