- Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 February 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 24 February 2010 05:00
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At the Feb. 17 regular meeting of the Colonial Beach School Board Superintendent Donna Power presented a new proposed list of expenses and revenues based on a new composite index of .3785 to replace the one presented at the last work session.
At the work session Power had presented proposed expense and revenue figures based on former Governor Tim Kaine’s recommended composite index of .4154.
Power began her discussion by saying: “At that time at the work session I presented the initial numbers and as I am stressing to the board tonight these numbers are not concrete numbers. They are numbers that are subject to change based on the Senate, the House and the final decisions of the General Assembly. But these are guiding numbers based upon grant awards and required local effort which is the amount of money which the council and the town is required to give to us and based upon our expenses.”
Power reported that on the initial composite index of .41 the town had a shortfall of state money of $323,078.07.
“Our new governor has made a recommendation just this past week that school divisions develop their budgets on their new composite index,” Power said.
Only 24 school divisions out of 132 had favorable results from the new composite index of .3785 and Colonial Beach was one of those divisions.
The new composite index gives Colonial Beach more state dollars and reconfigures the money provided by the town, resulting in less money needed from the local government.
The local required effort was a little over $2 million. Now, with the new composite index of .3785, the town would have a smaller shortfall of state money in the amount of 213,349.32.
“So this is good news in the grand scheme of things,” Power commented. “When we look at the newspapers every day school divisions are in the process of eliminating anywhere from 35 to 250 jobs. Some school divisions are looking at removing sports from their entire program.”
Power is optimistic that cuts can be made that result in few or no jobs lost as well as still maintaining the Standards of Quality in the school system.
“My main goal in developing this budget and presenting it to you tonight is to preserve all Standards of Quality in the core instructional areas,” Power said.
Both budgets allow for $7,168,456 in expenses. The budget based on the composite index of .41 results in $6,845,378 in total revenue leaving a shortfall of $323,078.07.
The budget based on the smaller composite index of .37 allows for $6,955,107 leaving a shortfall of only $213,349.32.
The lower index not only puts the larger burden of revenue on the state, taking it away from the local government, but it provides a larger amount of revenue leaving the School Board with a smaller shortfall to make up.
In the original budget based on the higher composite index, required revenue from the state is $178,302 less than the required amount based on the lower composite index of .37 and the required revenue from local government was originally $68,573 more than on the budget based on the lower composite index.
Power said the budget based on the Composite index of .3785 is very workable. She told the board that she was requesting direction from the board as to required cuts within the school system.
Power began her discussion of possible reductions in expenditures by saying that they all add up to $440,099.32 so obviously the board does not have to consider all of them. But it is important that each one have merit and importance of where it falls.
Possible reductions discussed where as follows:
Contract reductions of some 12-month employees to 11-month employees would net a savings of $22.377.
Reduction of full time insurance benefits would save $39,591.72, meaning that the School Board would pay $350 per employee instead of $400.
Eliminating employer-paid other benefits would save $21,962.40.
Another savings, which students would probably support, includes eliminating summer school saving $50,000. The school would instead have an after-school SOL Academy that would be run with grant dollars.
The school could ask its employees to pay 1 percent of VRS benefits; 31,506.20 could be saved.
Non-SOQ (Standard of Quality) position reduction in force would save over $95,000. Because these cuts are a personnel issue, Power would not elaborate on these proposed position cuts.
Requiring new hires to pay for criminal records checks could save the school $2,357.
Combining the job of guidance counselor for both schools to one position could save $36,000.
Deleting the elementary art teacher position could save $37,000.
Eliminating tuition reimbursement for staff could save $30,000.
Another welcome change for students would be to eliminate in-school suspensions at both the elementary and high School levels, saving the school $33,750.
Reduction of the number of extra classes at the High School with block scheduling would net a savings of $40,000.
Power reminded the School Board that these items where not in order of importance but simply a compilation of reductions that other school systems are considering.
After some clarification and discussion Chairman Trivett asked Power to rewrite the list in order of what she recommends be cut from most to least and present it to the board within the week.