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Halifax County schools seek additional $976,826
SoVaNow.com / March 04, 2013With the state budget picture seemingly settled, the Halifax County School Board has a clearer idea of the money it will need next year for operations — and how much funding it will seek from local taxpayers.
The school division will request a $976,826 funding boost from the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, on top of the current local appropriation of $13,256,000. If granted by the supervisors, the county’s contribution to education would rise to $14.23 million.
The extra funding will be used to fund a 2 percent pay raise for all employees, plus make up for an effective loss of $461,121 in state education operating funds.
Halifax County is due to receive roughly the same level of funding from the state in the upcoming budget year, but a good share of the money — $416,612 — is mandated to go towards a 2 percent pay hike for instructional personnel. That leaves the school division with $33,251,861 from the state available for operations, which represents a decline of $461,121 from the current fiscal year (when state funds totaled $33,712,982). The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2013.
The reduction means that a higher share of school operating costs falls on the county. School officials say the share of costs borne by the state has steadily declined since 2000.
Also adding to the size of the local request is a School Board proposal to extend the 2 percent pay increase to all employees.
The state budget provides money for a 2 percent hike for instructional personnel — teachers, aides and principals — but the School Board is requesting local funds to extend that increase to non-instructional personnel, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, nurses, secretaries, administrators and other employees. The projected cost of broadening the pay increase is $308,961.
Those two items — offsetting the state funding shortfall and giving raises to non-instructional personnel — comprise most of the budget deficit that the School Board will ask the county to cover. In addition, the School Board is required to come up with a local matching portion for the state-funded teacher pay increase, raising its costs by roughly another $118,000.
In pushing for the two percent salary increase, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Merle Herndon said Halifax County had “a very important one time opportunity” to help out local teachers who have not gotten a raise for the past five years. “We certainly hope to be able to do this, or we will lose the [state] money earmarked for those raises.”
Finally, the trustees will seek an additional $88,500 from the county to pay for several other priorities that include:
a $12,000 payment on lease purchases for ten new buses (there is $148,000 already earmarked in the budget for the buses)
$4,000 for software for professional development
$7,500 for a software changeover in the food service department
$65,000 for slots at the Regional Governor’s School and transportation to the SVCC Keysville campus, where the program is offered. At this point the School Board has not decided whether Halifax will be able to participate in the Governor’s School this coming year.
Another budget work session for school trustees has been scheduled for Monday, March 11 at 9 a.m.
In other business Thursday, school trustees voted to hold a special meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in the school conference room to consider at least seven discipline cases and one personnel matter. The meeting will take place in closed session.
Also, ED-8 trustee Walter Potts questioned Herndon on how the $1.4 million earmarked in the current year’s budget for LORP payments (the early retirement incentive program that the School Board canceled in July) is being spent.
Herndon responded that payments from the funds were made to retirees for their accumulated sick leave and vacation pay, with remaining money earmarked for the hiring of two principals. The original school budget called for two principals to have the responsibility of leading four schools. Other expenses that have been paid using LORP funds include non-budgeted attorney costs, two new bus drivers and other unpaid bills, she said.
Herndon promised to furnish Potts with a complete list of the non-budgeted items that have been or will be paid out of the $1.4 million.
Following a closed session for personnel, the School Board announced that two school employees have been suspended without pay for three days each and another employee was suspended for five days without pay. The trustees did not identify the suspended employees.
CommentsFrom 3 mill to less then 1 million, they can find a way to cut that as well
- By allpolitical2 on 03 / 05 / 13
CommentsIf they can afford to throw away perfectly good food, maybe they should supply some figures showing monetary value of the thrown-out food, then apply that waste to their shortfall.
I have said this before and I will say it again- when the folks at the top of HCPSS take a ten percent pay cut, then they can come crying about budget shortfalls. Until such time as they do that, I do not want to hear one peep out of them about lack of money.
Central Office, are you listening?
Didn't think so.
- By powerhouse on 03 / 05 / 13
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