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Question time!

Supervisors and School Board both want budget answers

The King George Board of Supervisors and the School Board both want answers to several budget questions they each submitted in advance of a joint meeting scheduled for this week.
The questions are listed below.
The joint meeting is on April 6 (following our press time), with questions distributed in advance, so each board might get a better understanding of the budgeting process on the other side.   
The suggestion to provide advance questions was made by Supervisor Cedell Brooks Jr. at a budget work session on March 23.
Board members also agreed they wanted the School Board to likewise provide its questions for supervisors in advance.
The biggest question from supervisors is also the issue from which many of the rest of the questions stem.
Supervisor Chairman Dale Sisson said he wanted the School Board to provide “actual” figures for expenditures in the same format as its itemized budget request.
Superintendent Candace Brown only provides the School Board with “budgeted” numbers.  Her budget request detail adopted by the School Board contains no “actual” figures for expenditures, but only “budgeted” numbers.
Budgeted numbers are obsolete at this point, since Brown turned back an unspent surplus of more than $1 million at the end of the last school year.  Also, the “budgeted” numbers for the current year were amended earlier this year to match significantly lower state revenue amounts.
In addition, Deputy County Administrator/Director of Finance Donita Harper’s monthly financial reports indicate that Brown is currently executing a budget that is about $2 million less than originally budgeted, at a current $32.79 million for 2009-10.

 

 

QUESTIONS FROM BOARD
OF SUPERVISORS    
The following questions from the Board of Supervisors were provided to Brown for dissemination to the School Board last week.
~ Need actual expenditures in advance mapped to itemized request.
~ Confirmation that the total level of expenditures for this year is projected to be $32.8 million, and can the same services provided this year be provided next year at this same funding level?
~ What items make up the $1.95 million difference between the $32.8 million proposed in the County Administrator’s budget and the $34.75 million requested by the School Board?
~ Why does the School division give back so much money at the end of the fiscal year, then say the school system still has unmet needs?  If categorical transfers are necessary, why haven’t they been brought forward?
~ Please explain the more than 100 percent increase in health insurance costs for secondary education.
~ Are any new positions included in the budget request?
~ Are there any currently vacant positions included in the budget request, if so what are they and how long have they been vacant?
~ What impact will additional State funding for VRS have on the School Board budget?
~ What additional equipment is needed for grounds and athletic field maintenance?  Why has this equipment and the other items identified last April not been previously purchased?  What is the estimated cost of this equipment?
~ Why is the maintenance of the high school been let to degrade to where the appearance and general cleanliness of this brand new facility is unacceptable?
~ What are the current class sizes for each grade and what is the state SOQ for the same?
~ How does the complete King George County benefit package compare to neighboring jurisdictions?
~ The county would like to discuss joint services with the School Board.

QUESTIONS FROM
The SCHOOL BOARD     
The following questions from the School Board were provided to County Administrator Travis Quesenberry for dissemination to the Board of Supervisors last week.
~ Part of the King George Strategic Plan to secure financial future is to “promote operational efficiencies through shared or merged services and the use of technology.” We have merged our financial services and have a consolidated group performing these duties. Can we look at other areas where we can combine services?  In particular, can we combine our custodial services?
~ How can the county help us relieve the burden to our staff, for the second year in a row, for the health insurance increase?
~ What is the status of the high school stadium?
~ Why does the Board of Supervisors believe that local funding at the RLE is an appropriate benchmark for meeting county educational needs?
~ If it was appropriate to transfer $4.5 million from the General Fund as a grant to the YMCA, why is it inappropriate to use funds from the General Fund for educational needs?
~ Would the Board of Supervisors provide a roll-over fund for use by the School Division when there are unspent funds from the previous FY?
~ We would like to utilize the old middle school as an intermediate school.  When does the Board of Supervisors expect to provide funding for repairs and recurring operational costs?

 

 

Phyllis Cook
Staff reporter

 

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