Board approves budget allocation

Shenandoah schools to reduce insurance funding
Jeremy Raley
Karen Whetzel
Katheryn Freakley
Sonya Williams Giersch

WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County School Board approved its budget at a Tuesday night work session.

Superintendent Jeremy Raley said he spoke with faculty, staff and parents before presenting a board with three possible options for using the $1,037,546 approved by the Board of Supervisors. The budget carries a deficit of over $2.6 million requested by the School Board.

“We’re living year to year,” Raley said. “None of these (options) are what we feel is best, but we have to do the best we can with what we have.”

The option approved by the board includes the following:

• A salary step increase for faculty and staff plus a 1-percent cost of living adjustment effective July 1
• 97 percent funding of employee-only premium insurance at $1,000 deductible level
• A math teacher position at North Fork Middle School
• A librarian at North Fork Middle School
• A 10-month assistant principal position at North Fork Middle School
• A drama teacher at Signal Knob Middle School and North Fork Middle School, for one semester each
• A nurse at Strasburg High School
• A second year of the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Science Academy
• The maintaining of the current preschool offerings
• The purchasing of probeware.

The approved option, along with two other options, used the full $1,037,546 in budget funding.

The approved option was supported by Chairwoman Karen Whetzel, Vice Chairman Rick Koontz and board members Sonya Williams-Giersch and Irving Getz.

Board member Katheryn Freakley did not support the option.

“I cannot support cutting employee benefits or programs, so I can’t support any option,” she said.

Board member Cynthia Walsh was not present to vote.

“It’s a no-win,” said Whetzel.

Freakley added, “You really are forced into making these impossible choices that are going to have detrimental impacts to our students.”

“And to our staff,” Williams-Giersch agreed.

Two other options presented to the board would have funded other initiatives not already approved:

Option B

• A salary step increase and 1 percent cost of living adjustment effective Dec. 1

• 100 percent funding of employee-only premium insurance at $1,000 deductible

• The hiring of all positions approved in Option A, maintaining of current preschool offerings, and a second year of the biomedical academy.

This option would not have funded the purchasing of probeware.

Option C

• 100 percent funding of employee-only premium insurance at $1,000 deductible

• Funding of the step increase and July effective date; funding of the math teacher, nurse and librarian positions; and funding for probeware

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com

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