Schools to consider budget changes

The $64.9 million 2017-2018 budget proposed by Shenandoah County Public Schools at a March meeting will need to be changed after Tuesday night’s decision by the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors to hold tax rates steady.

Superintendent Mark Johnston said that even without a tax raise he is hopeful that the funding provided will help the division address needs in a way that do not diminish morale “and to recognize that we are a people organization where the staff teaches and supports our students.”

“While we were disappointed not to receive full funding of our request, we were pleased that the Board of Supervisors recognized school division needs and agreed to increase the county transfer to the division, both in operations and capital,” he said. “We were also pleased that our capital program, while likewise not funded at the requested amount, will enable us to address some of our most pressing capital needs.”

He added that an increase in state funding will allow the school division to address several of their greatest needs. School staff is hoping to schedule a work session with the School Board to determine which needs will be funded and what needs will be put on hold. He added that one thing the division needs to budget for is a $568,586 increase in the Virginia Retirement System.

In March, Johnston proposed a $64.9 million budget, which was $3 million higher than last year’s $61.6 million budget. The School Board approved his proposed budget, which included funding for employee compensation and benefits, instructional personnel and resources, communication resources and operating efficiencies.

In January, the board also approved a 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan, with proposed projects for 2017-2018 totaling $3,877,903. Urgent and safety projects accounted for 73 percent of those projects.

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