- Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 00:00
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The King George School Board last week took a look at some preliminary budget figures.
Following that session, Dennis Paulsen gave his own take on the budget season.
“We are starting our budget session and it’s going to be another ugly budget session,” Paulsen said. “We can’t keep taking hits the way we take hits and expect to give the children the education they need. Once again we need to get the community support to help us get the funding required out of this county.”
During her presentation, Superintendent Candace Brown was asked to provide cost figures should they agree to ask for funding for “across the board” raises for all school employees.
That followed a request from bus drivers and aides asking to be at least provided adjustments to the bus aides/monitors’ scale to increase their salaries.
They also asked that pay for King George bus drivers and aides be aligned with the wages paid in Stafford schools.
The head of the King George Driver Leadership Council, John Day, also said the organization endorsed the request made on Dec. 13 by the King George Education Association (KGEA) to ask for 3 percent raises for all employees.
Others last week also addressing the School Board on behalf of bus drivers and aides included Estelle Ellis, Carol Lynn, Linda Emory, Meryl Crawford and Heather Samuel.
The requests by School Board members for more information from Brown took place at a meeting on Jan. 10.
That was the meeting when Brown was scheduled to provide the School Board with a recommended budget. Instead, she only provided some state and federal revenue figures based on the governor’s recommended budget.
Brown is now slated to provide her recommended budget at the next meeting, which is scheduled on Jan. 24 at 4 p.m.
School employees in King George have not received raises for the last two years, with no raises provided for 2009-10 or the current fiscal year, 2010-11.
The last time raises were granted was for the 2008-09 fiscal year. For that year, the School Board approved 4 percent increases for all employee groups, including administrators.
Some divisions are eying possible raises for teachers and other employees, but not administrators for the coming year.
School Board member Dennis Paulsen said he wanted costs for 2 percent and 3 percent employee raises.
Brown had provided estimates for 2 percent raises in her preliminary budget documents, saying that School Board member Lynn Pardee had told her she was “adamant” that be the minimum increase for employees.
That total for all current employees to get 2 percent raises comes to more than a half-million dollars, at $522,993.
Pardee said she would like the School Board to be provided with information regarding health insurance costs for the coming fiscal year.
Chairman Renee Parker directed her colleagues to contact Brown for any additional information they wanted.
GOVERNOR’S REVENUE FIGURES
Brown said the governor’s proposed budget was based on an average daily membership (ADM) of 4,165 students.
State revenue is currently proposed at $18,265,959, which Brown said would be an increase of $1,219,082 from the current year.
The governor’s budget would require the county to provide schools with a minimum of $9.2 million, according to budget documents posted online for King George at the Virginia Department of Education’s website.
But Brown instead talked about budget guidance she received in November from the county to submit a budget that does not exceed the actual year-end expenditures for fiscal year 2009-10.
The School Board has an operating budget currently totaling $34,191,159, for the current fiscal year, 2010-11, which includes amendments so far.
But it ended last year, 2009-10, with expenditures totaling $32,527,992. If that were the bottom line number for the division’s operating budget, Brown said $11,475,612 would be needed from the county.
PRELIMINARY EXPENDITURE FIGURES
But Brown said the division would actually need at least $33,851,935, which would imply that the county should provide an additional $1.3 million, which would come to about $12.8 million from the county.
Brown said the $33.85 million was arrived at by making certain adjustments.
Her adjustments included calculating all salaries and benefits to today’s actual costs.
The adjustments also included reducing the cost for utilities to reflect 2009-10 actual expenditures.
She also noted that she adjusted the estimate for instructional supplies, instructional materials and textbooks to match the Jan. 5, 2011, enrollment figure of 4,128 students.
Brown said she also added, $10,000 for a superintendent search. She said those adjustments would bring the bottom line to $33,851,935.
GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL FOR RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS
The governor’s proposal to require teachers to begin to contribute 5 percent to their retirement plans with the Virginia Retirement System, along with state employees, was brought up by School Board member Mike Rose.
He asked for clarification from Brown, which was not forthcoming.
Brown is not the only one who does not understand the implications in what McDonnell is proposing in his changes to VRS contributions. The implications depend on the interpretation.
McDonnell has said his proposal would extend to state employees and teachers, but how it would be implemented in localities has yet to be determined.
The governor is proposing that localities would have the option to require the 5 percent local employee share of VRS contributions, but only if such requirement is offset by a 3 percent or more salary increase.
McDonnell has also suggested that in December 2011 teachers and other affected employees could be provided “a one-time contingent performance incentive bonus” of up to 2 percent to offset reduction in take home pay.
Such bonuses would presumably be paid for with end-of-year savings and spending reductions.
Stay tuned, budget season is only beginning to heat up.