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Superintendent, school employees get increase but no raise

No extra change is coming home in school employees’ pockets.

Halifax County Public School employees who participate in the Virginia Retirement System recently received a 5.075 percent increase in salary, but all the raise will go toward paying their VRS payment.

According to Finance Director Jay Camp, teachers will not be bringing any of the raise home in their pocket.

“It’s all going toward the VRS,” said Camp.

After coming out of closed session Monday, board members approved amending Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon’s contract to add $8,624, making her annual salary $148,624.

Board members voted in July shortly after hiring the new school superintendent to cover any of her “unanticipated VRS costs.”

Camp said Wednesday all of that raise will go toward covering her VRS payment.

The superintendent will not bring any of the pay increase home, and “all of it will go towards the VRS,” Camp concluded.

During the 2012 legislative session, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law sweeping changes to Virginia’s retirement system.

School employees and local government employees participating in VRS are now being required to contribute 5 percent of their salary to retirement, with localities required to offset that contribution with corresponding raises.

However, the legislation did give localities the option of phasing in the 5 percent raise.

So although school employees participating in VRS saw a 5 percent salary increase this year, they also now have a pre-tax salary reduction for the 5 percent member contribution, Camp explained.

Halifax County School Board Chairman Karen Hopkins said Wednesday Dr. Herndon was hired after June 30, 2012 and qualified under the new VRS regulations which changed on July 1, 2012.

“Under this new regulation, employees hired after June 30 must pay the full 5 percent VRS contribution,” Hopkins said. 

“In July, the board voted to cover any unanticipated VRS costs for the superintendent. Dr. Herndon's net pay remains unchanged with the increase being remitted to VRS monthly,” she added.