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Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Carpenter’s legacy will live on in building named after him

Carpenter’s legacy will live on in building named after him

On June 12, Commissioners, staff and guests gathered to unveil the new sign naming the Potomac River...

CB Museum celebrates 15 years

CB Museum celebrates 15 years

CB Museum Curator Mitzi Saffos and Mayor Mike Ham both shake hands with Art Buswell while honoring h...

Chief Legg on Police Dispatch, “The move didn’t make it new!”

Colonial Beach Police Chief Elizabeth, “Libby” Legg is taking a second look at police dispatch throu...

$747,000 block grant awarded to CB

After only 4 meetings with Jerry Davis, Executive Director of the Northern Neck Planning District Co...

CB ‘Save the Bay’ clean-up draws crowd

CB ‘Save the Bay’ clean-up draws crowd

The 3rd Annual Save the Bay Day clean-up in Colonial Beach drew a crowd of volunteers to the Colonia...

Citizens’ actions speak louder than words

Colonial Beach citizens packed the meeting room on June 12, to show support for the town’s school sy...

 Last week when the July 9, 2014 Journal was sent to be printed, the printer's press broke and we had problems with the printed version of the 7-9-14 paper.

However, the press was fixed, and our July 16, 2014 editions are out as usual.

Remember, you can subscribe for just $24 per year by calling 540-775-2024 or signing up online here.

 

 

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Beane asks council to approve school budget

Colonial Beach School Superintendent Kathleen Beane, admits she is new to the process of budget approval and some aspects of budget execution, but maintains that the town council is obligated to approve the schools’ budget by May 1.

Beane addressed the council at the May 9 work session saying, “I find myself in the humiliating position of having to tell staff that I do not know if they will have a job in the fall.”

Beane has been with the school system for many years. She was recently promoted to Superintendent in December 2012, after former Superintendent Donna Power left the area to pursue a job in Luray.

“I will admit, that being new to this position as of the end of October, I am feeling my way along, and am certainly not yet confident in the entire process,” Beane told the council. “However, we have met every deadline required by law to ensure that the process would not be delayed,” Beane continued.

Beane reminded the council that the school has been in communication with town officials, approved a budget, and presented it to the town by the March 31 deadline. “Since the end of March, we have been waiting for approval of a school budget which, by law, was to have been done by May 1,” Beane told the council.

“I stand before you now asking that you provide me with an approved budget as quickly as possible. Our school division is the largest employer in this town, with approximately 125 people on staff.”

Beane told the council that without an approval from the council, no planning can be done for the replacement of teachers who are leaving, no contracts can be written, and there can be no planning for how to manage outdated facilities. The outdated facilities referred to are three trailers at the elementary school campus, which had not even been considered in the first draft of the budget. These three trailers house classes for Art, Music, Special Education and Title I, the nurse’s station and a computer lab.

Beane has told both school and town officials that the deplorable condition of these trailers will soon pose a health risk to students and staff, if not replaced.

Beane added, “We have had to inform interviewees we cannot give them a salary, or even ensure them the position they’ve applied for will be available, because we do not have an approved budget.”

Mayor Mike Ham responded to the audience and Beane by saying, “One of the quandaries we are in is that the schools’ budget is supposed to be approved by May 1, but the town’s budget isn’t approved until the end of June.”
Ham reminded the audience that a lack of federal funding has created huge shortfall-funding for many school systems.

In February, Beane told the school board that due to over $800,000 in budget cuts from the federal government, Colonial Beach Schools will ask the town and Westmoreland County for an extra $400,000 to avoid layoffs next school year.

In March, Beane requested this extra funding from council. The school system originally started the 2013-2014 school year budget process with an $854,348 shortfall, but has reduced that shortfall to less than half. However, the need for trailer replacement at the elementary school campus could bring the schools’ request for more funding closer to half a million dollars.

After careful planning, the budget staff had managed to eliminate $459,000 from that shortfall. The budget decreased from $7.2 million to $6.75 million. “These are real numbers of what we get and what we spend.  This is a real budget, and we didn’t inflate anything,” Superintendent Beane told the council in March.

Ham said at the May meeting, “We’re still probably looking at a $400,000 shortfall,” and warned there may be an increase in real estate property taxes to compensate.

CB Town Council, by law, is required to approve a dollar amount for the school’s budget by May 15, according to Town Manager Val Foulds who refers to State Code 22.1-93. However, she said that the town does not have to approve the entire budget, but is obligated to the amount it does approve.

The council has called a special meeting for Thursday, May 16, at 2 p.m. to discuss the school board budget.

Linda Farneth

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