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School savings transfer discussed

No one spoke during the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors’ joint public hearing regarding the proposed fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 county and school budgets on Tuesday.

The county’s proposed budget includes no tax or fee increases and contains a 2-percent salary increase for county employees.

Robert M. “Bobby” Jones

“I’ve seen this happen one time before this in 16 years,” Lockett District Supervisor and Board Chairman Robert M. “Bobby” Jones said in reference to the lack of public participation.

This year’s hearing came in contrast to a hearing last year for the FY 2016-17 budget where 19 students, teachers, parents and citizens spoke in support of the division’s request for $752,402 in additional local funds.

For the upcoming FY 2017-18 budget, the school division requested $314,639 in additional local funds — a request that was met by supervisors with a funding increase of $123,802 in the proposed county operating budget.

Following Tuesday’s hearing, the board discussed a way to bring the school division’s funding closer to the requested amount.

“The concept I’d like to introduce tonight to let us think about over the next few days is allowing the schools to keep, say any savings they have, appropriate that to next year’s budget with a cap of $150,000 and leave the ($123,802) extra that we have proposed and (Division Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson) and the others seem to think they can make the difference without an issue,” said Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr.

C.R. “Bob” Timmons

The board reached a consensus in agreeing with Timmons’ concept that, if approved along with both proposed budgets, would leave only a difference of about $41,000 between the request and the amount between proposed savings and allocated increase from the board.

If the $150,000 capped savings isn’t allocated to the FY 2017-18 budget, there could be a $190,837 difference between the division’s request and the allocated increase in local funding from supervisors.

Timmons also proposed a line item in the budget of a $6,000 contingency fund for donations during the year that wasn’t allocated to the $150,000 cap of charitable funds.

“Sometimes people come and ask for funding for various reasons, and in the past we’ve had no leeway to allow funding … This would allow the board some leeway to expand up to $6,000 on one or 10 or different requests throughout the year,” said County Administrator Wade Bartlett. “The board would have to authorize the expenditure item.”

Farmville District 801 Supervisor Pattie Cooper-Jones said she’d like to see the board allocate the Robert Russa Moton Museum an additional $2,000. 

“I think it represents that the county supports them even though I know that Longwood (University) is now attached, but I think that it doesn’t look good if we, as a board, don’t support the Moton Museum,” Cooper-Jones said.

The proposed budget currently has $8,000 in charitable donations set for the museum.

Jim Wilck

Discussing a request regarding the Virso Recreation and Community Center that Leigh District Supervisor Jerry Townsend spoke in support of during previous board meetings, Jones said it was possible they’d support a donation if they’d bring the board plans.

“I like to see something you can physically touch, not that ‘we had a cookout,’ but something that added on or improved something, like, that will stay there for a while and (as)the contingency fund stands, they can give us the information and we can vote on it,” Jones said.

Farmville District 701 Supervisor Jim Wilck said he supported allocating money to Longwood and letting the University divide money between Moton Museum and the Small Business Development Center, both of which supervisors allot money toward.

“Our budget is about $54 million, Longwood’s is $122 million,” Wilck said. “I’m not even sure why we’re giving them anything.”

“I think we’re not giving so much to Longwood but giving as a representation of our support of the Moton Museum, which is very vital,” said Prospect District Supervisor Calvin Gray.

Both the school and county FY 2017-18 budgets could be adopted Tuesday.

This is a clarified version of the original story.

Pattie Cooper-Jones

Calvin Gray