Shenandoah County schools seek $1.7 million to balance plan
By Kaitlin Mayhew -- email@example.com
WOODSTOCK - Superintendent B. Keith Rowland presented a preliminary version of the public schools budget at Thursday's work session that will require asking the county for $1.7 million to balance the budget.
Before his presentation, Rowland lamented how difficult it is to come up with a budget as the funding cuts get more dramatic each year.
"It hasn't gotten any easier," he said. "[This] represents a budget based on need, not on want."
The majority of the reductions in expenditures were in line with the options proposed to the school board at their last work session on Feb. 27.
Two part-time receptionists in the school board office will be laid off. A stipend of more than $11,000 will no longer be paid to Shentel Channel 8 to broadcast school programming.
Out of the 13 positions that will be vacant as a result of employees retiring or resigning, only seven will be filled. Four of those set to be filled are teacher positions.
Two new expenditures include purchasing updated language arts books for grades kindergarten through second grade.
Rowland said that he would prefer to update the textbooks for all grades, since the Standards of Learning in that subject are going to change this year, but at this time that isn't possible.
Over $400,000 is budgeted to keep the eight jobs that were funded through the Jobs Bill for the last three years.
"We have decided that those positions are indispensable," Rowland said.
The positions include: four teachers, one nurse, a maintenance technician, a PC technician and a student data analyst.
However, if the $1.7 million that's needed is not granted by the county, Rowland said the look of the budget will change dramatically.
For one thing, the planned 1.5 percent raise for all employees likely will be put on hold for the fifth consecutive year.
Another possibility would be that the school year may be reduced by seven days. The bus drivers may have to do more than one run in the morning and afternoon, which would result in 15 driver lay-offs.
In that situation additional lay-offs may be in the works too, said Rowland, for instructional aids and perhaps teachers.
The next public hearing for a budget discussion is scheduled for Thursday, March 15.