Inside Norfolk’s $494M school budget: Security systems and pay raises — but some say its not enough

NORFOLK — The Norfolk School Board approved its $494 million budget for the upcoming year Wednesday night after several failed attempts to amend it.

The board voted to approve the superintendent’s proposed budget, sending it on to city council for approval, in a 5-2 vote. Tanya Bhasin and Rodney Jordan dissented.

Last week, the vote had been delayed due to several board members wanting more time to review the proposed budgets and recently submitted amendments by Bhasin and Jordan.

Jordan put forward multiple motions related to these topics, such as expanding a pilot program to address teacher vacancies and addressing the instructional pay scale. He proposed the board move to create a pay scale in which a year of experience correlated with a step on the scale so that a staff member’s experience was reflected in their compensation.

Campsen said she was excited about the pilot program but “we have to be careful.” Several said they supported addressing the teacher pay scale and the pay compression some staff have experienced. Board member Carlos Clanton said that he didn’t disagree with what Jordan was proposing but the board had not “done our due diligence.”

None of the motions passed.

Vice Chair Tiffany Moore-Buffaloe, who also voted in favor of the motions, spoke on the failed motion addressing the pay scale, saying the vote to push discussion off again was “disheartening.” She recalled a meeting in March 2022, before she was on the board, in which the board at the time had said they would work on the pay scale for this budget.

“Here we are March 2023 still talking about the same thing,” Moore-Buffaloe said.

When approving the budget, Moore-Buffaloe said she expected the budget to be a year-round discussion. Chair Adale Martin said there are several topics on upcoming agendas, including the pay scale.

The budget request includes funding for new weapons detection systems in all schools, as well as pay raises and bonuses to support staff recruitment and retention.

Kelsey Kendall,


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