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City schools reviewed early stages of revenue, spending for 2012 fiscal year
By Alex Bridgesfirstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Early figures show the city school system faces a $2.2 million revenue shortfall for fiscal 2012.
But division officials and the School Board on Monday noted their work on the next budget remains at a preliminary stage. Gov. Bob McDonnell has presented his biennial budget for fiscal 2012 and 2013, but as one board member said the legislature may change his financial plan for the state.
At the board's finance committee meeting, members reviewed preliminary revenue and spending data. Officials expect the division's average daily enrollment to increase from the budgeted amount of 3,720 to 3,800 pupils.
Personnel requests are $1.5 million above the current budgeted amount. The system is expected to spend $46.6 million, but have only $44.4 million in revenue, according to Finance Director Lynda Meadows.
The division has $711,062 in federal money it received though President Obama's Education Jobs Program with a goal to either save or create positions in the field. The School Board has not yet used the money, but can do so either in fiscal years 2012 or 2013. The division has until September 2012 to spend the money, Meadows said.
Superintendent Rick Leonard told the board its budget discussions should include when to use the education jobs funding.
"Everything we're looking at is based on the governor's proposed amendment to the biennial budget, and that's in here, and seeing what impact that could have on us," Leonard said. "Remember the money is much like the [stimulus] money. It's one-time money."
Leonard reminded board members the federal stimulus money and a reduction in the school division's contribution to the Virginia Retirement System helped trim the budget shortfall.
"This year, VRS, the day of reckoning is upon us," Leonard said.
Sales tax collected in the city has increased slightly from August through October compared to the same months in the previous year, according to data reported to the board.
"It is starting to increase and it's running about even with what they projected the sales tax to be this year so far, so I'm anxious to see what November and December look like," Meadows said.
The School Board also faces how to defray the increasing cost of insurance benefits.
Health insurance claims in the division from July through November have risen by $33,000, or 2.4 percent above the number in the same period in 2009, according to Meadows.