Sat04192014

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School Board gets Brown’s proposed budget request

Brown’s budget request predicated on same amount of local funding as current year

The King George School Board last week received a binder of Superintendent Candace Brown’s proposed request and heard highlights of her budget recommendation at a meeting on January 14.  
Brown’s recommended budget request conforms to the Governor’s budget proposal for $1.4M less state revenue than in the current year.
But it is predicated on the county Board of Supervisors making no such reduction in revenue from the county.
The state is currently saying the required local effort from King George could be reduced by about $1.5M over the current year’s funding from the county.  
There is no guarantee that the county will be in a position to fund the School Board at its current level given lower revenues and the likelihood of the current economic slowdown continuing for the next year.
King George, like the rest of the localities in the region and most across the state, is experiencing reduced revenues and decreasing its own budget for the current year.
Supervisors are likewise contemplating cuts in next year’s budget, which is expected to be a difficult funding year.  
~ RAISES? The School Board should have some tough decisions in making decisions on its budget request for 2009-10.  
But it didn’t take them long to instead call for possible additions to increase the proposed request.
Brown told the School Board her proposed budget contained no salary increases.  
School Board member Lynn Pardee asked her to provide costs for pay increases of 1 percent up to 5 percent.  
School Board member Dennis Paulsen also asked to see the cost of providing step increases for all employees.  All the division’s salary scales have 2 percent increases between steps.
~ POSSIBLE CUTS?    Pardee also called for Brown to supply cost comparisons that would result in savings if benefits were eliminated for part-time employees.  That’s an idea that has been discussed with no decisions attempted.
Chairperson Sherrie Allwine said that if that were to take place she would urge grandfathering current part-time employees with benefits.
School Board member Payne Kilbourn asked for the division’s cost of benefits for retirees.  
Brown said that retirees are allowed to stay on the division’s health insurance at their own expense, except that retirees are provided a benefit of $240 per year toward their health insurance costs.
Brown said she made no cuts in athletics or other programs, adding, “I tried to maintain the instructional program as far as supplies and materials, and to maintain the required work that has to be done, and tried very hard to maintain all of our employees.”
Pardee also suggested an upcoming discussion include pay-to-play for sports as touched on during talks last year.
~OTHER HIGHLIGHTS Brown told them her proposed request for 2009-10 contains no salary increases, but does contain four new positions for two special education teachers and two special education paraprofessionals (aides).  
But at the same time it also eliminates one position for a CTE/KGHS guidance counselor vacancy that will not be filled.  
Brown noted that behind-the-wheel driver education has been added back in, saying that fees would cover the costs.
Brown also said that the Head Start program will be cut, which would have required $96K funding in the coming year.
~ STATE REVENUE    In his state of the Commonwealth address earlier this month, Governor Tim Kaine spoke of the need for belt tightening in all areas of state funding, including K-12 education.  
“Instead of across-the-board cuts, I’ve proposed targeted, performance-based cuts,” Kaine said.  Regarding education cuts, he added, “As with other parts of the budget, I carefully considered our priorities in education, and thought long and hard about how to make cuts in a way that protected the most important functions of our schools.”
Kaine said he decided, “that nothing in our schools was as important to the students as their teachers and principals, and so I have made a proposal that protects our core priority—the classroom.”
Kaine’s budget proposal is to reduce funding for administrative and support personnel in schools and central offices by applying a state funding cap for those positions.
Kaine stated, “I know that administrative positions are important, but with no cap, they have grown much more rapidly than spending on teachers.”
While Brown noted that the state funding cuts targeted support personnel, she did not tell the School Board that administrators were part of the target.  Instead, she said Kaine was targeting guidance, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and clerical personnel.  
But Kaine is not including school nurses in his funding caps for support positions.  
In the attachment to a December 17, 2008 memo to all division Superintendents, a summary of the Governor’s budget proposal states, “The funding cap is not applied to the following support positions:  division superintendent, school board members, school nurses, or pupil transportation positions.”
~ NUMBERS    Brown’s proposed request for 2009-10 would add up to $33,667,370, compared to the current year’s $35,191,245.  
It would include state revenue of $19,828,433 and local revenue of $12,373,371 as in the current year.  
That compares to $10,844,644 that would be the “Required local effort” amount from the county under the Standards of Quality in state law.
The remainder of the revenue would be $1,215,566 from federal sources and $250,000 from “other” sources.

Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter



 

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