PE School Funds Figure

Published 2:43 pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014

PRINCE EDWARD — The bad news is that Virginia’s General Assembly hasn’t agreed on a budget for 2014-15 and will go into extra session on March 24.

The challenge for Prince Edward, and all school divisions, will be to keep budget development timelines without concrete state funding figures.

Still, the good news is that the three sides of the funding triangle aren’t that far apart.

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Factoring an Average Daily Membership (ADM, or roughly the average number of students attending the school system K-12) of 2,135, the House of Delegates would increase state revenue over the governor’s proposed budget by $6,742 spread over various funding categories and the State Senate version would mean $94,174 and keeps the number of pre-K students at the current level. (Prince Edward’s pre-K was set to take a funding hit with a reduction from 118 to 90 and the program being reduced by a teacher and an aide.)

Overall, the Senate budget factors a $347,834 increase in state funding, while the House of Delegates version would see an increase of $260,401.

While the numbers are flowing in the positive direction, the school system also faces increased costs. Factoring more state dollars in the governor’s budget proposal, reductions in federal and other funds, preliminary funding increases in the retirement system and a health insurance premium increase and expenditure reductions including debt service, there’s a net preliminary revenue shortfall of $156,455. Added with proposed budget needs, the schools would need a $1,150,381 increase in operational funds from the county, as cited in the February 19 budget work session.

The board has worked to identify specific priorities for requested funding. That list included a two percent salary increase for all employees, funding for five kindergarten aides, pre-K teacher and aide (that would be trimmed in the governor’s budget and House of Delegates proposals), placing 51 teachers on their correct salary schedule, an increase for career technical center, and the purchase of one bus.

Collectively, the revenue shortfall is projected at $960,672, factoring added funds for those requests.

School board members are scheduled to meet with County supervisors Thursday evening to chew over budget figures and the school funding needs.

The school board held a public hearing as part of their March 5 meeting. There were no speakers.