Reductions at PECPS could include employee raises

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Prince Edward County School Board is considering reductions in expenditures to balance its FY 2016-17 school budget approved by the county’s board of supervisors.

School board members discussed the potential cuts during a budget work session last week.

“Considering the level-funded school budget, the remaining reduction of $407,442 will balance the budget,” said Division Superintendent Dr. David Smith.

“The school board considered the possible reductions in employee health care insurance and the possible elimination of the 2 percent raise for staff,” he said.

Buffalo District Representative and School Board Chairman Russell Dove said that as far as the salary increase for staff is concerned, “it does have about $224,000 attached to it.”

Russell Dove

Russell Dove

Thus, he said the board may have to consider it as a possibility in reductions.

Dove said the current health insurance for staff carries a deductible of between $250 and $500, depending on the specific preference of the individual.

However, if reductions in employee health insurance are implemented, the deductible could increase between $500 and $1,000.

According to Smith, the focus of the Wednesday, May 4, meeting was to discuss priority adjustments and the school division’s needs in order to achieve a balanced budget with the appropriate funding level.

“The approval of local level funding is helpful, which provides an additional $317,182 above the advertised $8 million local funding level,” Smith said.

“This is still a shortfall of $432,954 below the revised school board funding request, which included required expenditure increases for the upcoming school year to cover the increased cost of health insurance, Virginia Retirement System contributions and an employee salary increase.”

Dove said the board is trying to find a way to accommodate the budget reductions without classroom reductions occurring. “It still has some challenges,” he said.

The school board will meet on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a work session to consider additional reductions from the superintendent and division’s finance director.