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Potential raises please NCI, VMNH
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Administrators at two state agencies in Martinsville are excited about the possibility of their employees receiving pay raises in the coming fiscal year.
Raises averaging 3 percent are included in proposed budgets presented by the House and Senate on Sunday.
State workers have not seen across-the-board pay raises in six years, noted William Wampler and Joe Keiper, the executive directors of the New College Institute (NCI) and the Virginia Museum of Natural History, respectively.
“I know our faculty and staff will welcome a raise, no matter how modest,” Wampler said.
Keiper said a raise will improve museum employees’ morale. Morale has not been bad, he said, but “everybody likes to be paid what they’re worth.”
The proposed budgets keep the institute and the museum essentially level-funded. Wampler and Keiper are breathing sighs of relief.
In the new fiscal year that will start July 1, NCI is proposed to get about $1.47 million and the museum is proposed to get about $2.6 million.
No major changes are planned at either institution.
Wampler said he is thrilled that both the House and Senate spending plans apparently include $750,000 proposed by Gov. Bob McDonnell for NCI. The money is to be used to buy equipment for a new advanced manufacturing program to be housed at the institute’s planned new building uptown.
That equipment will be critical to the program’s success, Wampler said.
Keiper said he hopes the state can find funds to continue the annual Virginia Science Standards Institute, in which teachers statewide “basically live at a state park for a week” and learn about science and nature in order to get continuing education credits.
The Virginia Department of Education has discontinued funding for the program, which the museum has coordinated for the past 17 years.
Keiper said, though, he realizes that in a tough budget year, it will be “a tough row to hoe” for the state to continue funding the program.