6 Percent ‘Across the Board’ Raise?

6 Percent ‘Across the Board’ Raise?

Sole school board member challenges top FCPS staff salary increases

Mount Vernon District School Board Member Mateo Dunne

Mount Vernon District School Board Member Mateo Dunne

Mount Vernon District school board member Mateo Dunne, seeks to call attention to the inequities inherent in how the Fairfax County Public School system plans to spend the money it receives in this FY-25 budget cycle. 

Dunne says the school’s proposed six percent across-the-board salary increase would give large sums to those already earning the top salaries, perpetuating the salary shortfalls of those earning less than their peers in the region. Instead, he says FCPS should “spend in smart ways that solve salary problems, not ways that perpetuate the problems. My priority is the folks working in the schools: principals, teachers, instructors, cafeteria workers and bus drivers. The people who are deserving but are paid below the market.”

What is the smart way to set salaries? Dunne argues the modern way is to examine pay by category of employee, within the metro region, to assure equal pay for comparable jobs. The goal is salaries that are internally equitable and externally competitive. He says not all school employees are underpaid, or underpaid by the same amount. Raises should create pay at, or as close to, the market as possible.

Mateo said that some salaries in high demand areas need to be above market to attract needed employees. Teacher jobs in special education, Title 1 schools, and some math and science areas are traditionally hard to fill. As an example, he cites special education in FCPS, where a third of the teachers now are provisionally certified or long-term substitutes, putting special education at risk. He argues “we could end the crisis by paying correctly.”

Dunne is the only school board member who did not vote in favor of the Fairfax County Public School’s advertised budget, by abstaining. He shares his abstention was not out of disagreement with the priorities or amount of requested funds, but with the source of funding and the methods that would be used for distributing workforce compensation. Dunne said he strongly supports school superintendent Dr Michelle Reid, and that FCPS "is lucky to have her.” 

But Dunne said that Reid “doesn't need to be paid more, nor does her top staff.” He will introduce a motion at the April 9 school board budget work session to exclude the top 25 highest paid staff members from salary increases. If passed, the motion would allow more funds to adjust salaries that are out of sync with market comparisons. If the motion does not pass, Dunne says we will know from the vote where each school board member stands on the issue.


Salary Comparisons    

    Joe Biden            U.S. President                $400,000

    Michelle Reid        FCPS Superintendent        $399,836*

    John Roberts        Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Court    $277,700

    Marty Smith         FCPS Chief of Staff            $273,561*

    Lloyd Austin        Secretary of Defense        $221,400

    Kamala Harris         U.S. Vice President            $157,532


26 FCPS senior staff positions earn over $200,000*

* obtained by FOIA and shared with The Connection