School Board discusses impacts to budget

WOODSTOCK – The Shenandoah County School Board discussed impacts from the General Assembly session and health insurance bids affecting the proposed 2017-2018 operating budget of $64,811,247 at a Thursday night work session.

Director of Finance for the school division Barbara Stombock recapped the proposed budget, which is $3,194,486 over last year’s approved budget.

The proposed budget includes a Virginia Retirement System rate increase from 14.66 percent to 16.32 percent, totaling $568,586. The budget also includes $572,924 for health insurance, $952,617 for a salary step increase and one percent cost of living adjustment increase for all employees, $762,390 for instructional employees and resources and $337,969 for compliance, operating efficiencies and public information.

Stombock also presented the final General Assembly adopted budget impact to the school division. The final General Assembly budget reduces the local funding of the budget by $54,207, as the state would be funding this amount.

The original proposed operating budget for the school division listed $2,205,202 for local funding to the budget. With the changes in the General Assembly budget, this has been reduced to $2,150,995.

Supervisor of Human Resources Linda Hodges presented the results of the division’s health insurance bids.

After reviewing results, she recommends renewing services with The Local Choice’s combination plan that includes medical, dental and vision coverage, with a 4.1 percent increase in rates.

Other proposals for medical coverage had rate increases ranging from 4.5 percent to 15.1 percent.

Following these presentations, board members presented their ideas on the proposed budget.

Vice Chairman Rick Koontz said he would like to see teacher salaries get to the median salary range of the division’s competitors.

Board member Katheryn Freakley added being competitive in salary and benefits will bring and retain teachers to the division.

“These are not wants. These are needs,” she said.

Chairwoman Karen Whetzel said that many of the budget items are repeats from previous budget proposals that have gone unfunded, but she doesn’t want to “abandon” these budget requests.

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