Fri08292014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Schools to ask for almost $400K extra

Due to over $800,000 in budget cuts from the federal government, Superintendent Kathleen Beane told the school board that Colonial Beach Schools will ask the town and county for an extra $400,000 to avoid layoffs in the next school year.

The budget is still in the planning stages, but Beane presented the board with a brief overview of the 2013-2014 school year budget.

“The budget planning process this year has been thorough, systematic and carefully reasoned,” Beane said, as she gave a presentation of the first draft of the budget for next year. “The next step in the process is to schedule some work sessions, with you, prior to the March board meeting. All projects being researched and considered for campus safety will be discussed during our budget work session.”

Beane cautioned the board that the figures in the first draft are subject to change. “The governor’s proposal to amend the 2013-2014 budget are subject to final action at the 2013 General Assembly Session. Therefore, revenue projections contained in this document are likely to change.”

Federal funding is dwindling, according to Beane, and the school anticipates a significant reduction of $827,00 in federal grant revenue.

In order to deal with these cuts, the school is requesting additional local government support from both Westmoreland County and the Town of Colonial Beach in the amount of $2,153,198. This would be an increase of $395,348 above the current level of funding from the town.

School Board Member Wayne Kennedy pointed out that after deducting the increased support of $395,000 from the $827,000 shortfall of federal funding, the school is still left with a deficit of almost $432,000.  Kennedy asked Beane how this budget proposal would absorb that remaining shortfall.

Beane replied, “We have been able to do some creative work looking at the budget right now, without losing any employees.” Beane said that the specifics would be revealed and covered in budget work sessions.

One bit of news for the budget is bittersweet.  For the 2013-2014 school year, Governor McDonnell has made a one-time allocation of $41,052 to give all Standards of Quality (SOQ) employees a 2% raise from the state. To give raises to the remainder of the staff, the school will have to come up with an additional $30,505 themselves. For the following school year (2014-2015), the school will have to fund the entire amount.

Regarding the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), the employer share will remain the same as the current year, at the rate of 11.66%. Last July, employees were required to begin contributing 5% of their gross pay into the VRS, which the school system offset for them by increasing salaries by 5%.

The VRS Group Life Insurance rate of 1.19%, and the VRS Health Care Credit rate at 1.11%, will also remain the same as last year.

Beane informed the group that although it will not affect the upcoming budget, in July 2014, the VRS rates are expected to increase significantly, and the state will require that some form of both short and long term disability plan be made available to employees.

The budget anticipates a speculative increase in health insurance rates by 10%, but the town will not know until early July.  

Despite the request for more local funding, the school’s budget for the 2013-2014 school year is $6,750,107, a significant decrease from this school year’s budget of $7,209.522.

As funding for federal programs continues to decrease, schools will continue to request more local tax dollars, or be forced to eliminate jobs in the school system.

Linda Farneth

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