Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Spotsylvania Schools Superintendent Jerry Hill released the following budget update to school employees today:
On April 21st, the Board of Supervisors approved a personal property tax rate of $6.26 per $100 of assessed valuation, which was 7 cents less than the $6.33 tax rate recommended by the Interim County Administrator. This 7 cent reduction will reduce the County’s revenue by $694,737 and the Schools’ local transfer by $465,474, dropping our local transfer amount to $113.8 million. This is $6.1 million less than our local appropriation for the FY 2009 school year as well as $2.1 million below FY 2008.
Initially, the Board of Supervisors was considering holding back 10% of the Schools’ FY 2010 allocation to protect against possible additional County revenue shortfalls in FY 2010. The School Board has proposed and is supporting a resolution that provides to the Board of Supervisors $5.2 million in hold back funds. The School Board is hopeful that the Board of Supervisors will accept its resolution in lieu of a 10% hold back. In addition, the Board of Supervisors is considering holding back $2.6 million of County general revenue. By an approved resolution, the School Board is requesting that the Board of Supervisors appropriate the $113.8 million of which $5.2 million (minus any carryover funds) would be reserved to offset a potential loss in local revenue for FY 2010. Both County and School finance staff would evaluate the status of County revenue with a request to the Board of Supervisors to hold or release portions of the $5.2 million depending on the status of actual County revenue.
The school division has requested that the Board of Supervisors appropriate (authorize to spend) funds for the school division at the April 28th Board of Supervisors’ meeting rather than on May 12th as scheduled. This request is being made so that on April 29th the school division can start issuing contracts to the 126 employees on the call back list with assignments coming later.
I know this budget process has been frustrating to all involved and does not provide the opportunities for growth in salaries, benefits, and programs we would like to see. However, let’s not forget that Spotsylvania County Schools remains an excellent school division with far more to be proud of than to complain about. I very much appreciate the professional manner in which staff members have dealt with this difficult financial situation and look forward to improved economic conditions.