Letter to the Editor: Public input needed during budget talks


In response to the article published on Oct. 26 titled “Supervisor pushes early curbs on next budget,” as the Shenandoah County School Board enters into fiscal year 2018 budget preparations, it is important to note that by law, the superintendent and elected school board are required to submit a needs-based budget. Specifically, Virginia Code requirement § 22.1-92 mandates that “It shall be the duty of each division superintendent to prepare, with the approval of the school board, and submit to the governing body or bodies appropriating funds for the school division, by the date specified in § 15.2-2503, the estimate of the amount of money deemed to be needed during the next fiscal year for the support of the public schools of the school division.”

Not only does the state code specifically support a needs-based approach, but providing our county leadership with a true and accurate representation of the needs of our school division for those who work for and attend our public schools should be of utmost importance for thoughtful consideration each and every budget cycle.

Publicizing a preconceived outcome prior to working through the process eliminates the public’s opportunity to weigh in as countywide needs, not just those of the school division, are presented through the comprehensively built budgets of each governmental department. Failing to acknowledge the needs of our community will not make them go away or bring resolution as to how to appropriately address them.

The public can find the county school fiscal year 2018 budget meeting schedule on the Shenandoah County Public Schools website. I encourage our community to review not only the school budget meeting schedule, but the county budget meeting schedule as well. There are many work sessions open to the public and opportunities for public participation so our community can follow and actively contribute in the transparent process of effectively and responsibly meeting the needs of Shenandoah County and Shenandoah County Public Schools.

Katie Freakley,
District 4
Shenandoah County
School Board member