vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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More School Budget Info

There are some conflicting conclusions to be drawn from the way the upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 county budget funds schools. Supervisors appropriated school funds by category, a move that seems to jibe with state code here and here, but hasn’t been done in Stafford in recent memory. This means that money appropriated to instruction must be spent on instruction. The rest can be divided among the remaining categories however the School Board sees fit.

So how much did the supervisors appropriate to instruction? $175,492,747. Some supervisors are saying that they fully funded school instruction. Is that true? Probably depends who you ask.

According to a document prepared by county budget gurus, that amount is what the School Board ultimately requested. However, Superintendent Sawyer’s budget asked for $183,119,929. The current Fiscal Year (2010) budget had $181,399,909. The latest expense estimate for the current fiscal year is $169,931,477. The actual Fiscal Year 2009 amount was $177,767,679.

Figures are similar for the county funds involved in the school budget. The school board requested $106,371,217. Sawyer requested the same. the current fiscal year’s budget contained $102,736,533. Schools estimate they will spend $103,808,533 in the current fiscal year, a figure that includes about $1 million in bonus money the county gave schools after discovering a “surprise” surplus last year. The upcoming fiscal year 2011 budget appropriates $100,693,774 in county funds to schools.

When looking at total school operating funds, things look much like the instruction figures. Supervisors appropriated a total operating budget, including state and federal dollars, of $237,261,940 for the coming fiscal year. In a letter to School Board Chairman Dana Reinboldt, Supervisor Mark Dudenhefer wrote that it was a 1.64% ($3,827,643) increase over the current fiscal year. Again, it probably depends who you ask. The figure Dudenhefer and other supervisors are using as a basis is $233,434,297 – the estimated actual amount for the current fiscal year. The budgeted amount for the current fiscal year is $248,480,087 and the actual figure from fiscal year 2009 was $242,405,003. for the upcoming fiscal year, Sawyer requested $251,886,144 and the school board requested $242,939,383.

The supervisors wanted to fully fund classroom expenses, which they did by funding the instruction category. They also wanted to make sure “central office” administrators did not receive pay increases. Since administrators are in their own “Administration, Attendance and Health” budget category, they should not benefit from the full funding of instruction. Aside from the instruction category, supervisors reduced school expenses 2.73 percent, the same as other county agencies aside from the Sheriff and Fire and Rescue.

To sum up:

County Funds for School Operating Budget

FY09 Actual: $90,345,267

FY10 Adopted Budget: $102,736,533

FY10 Estimated Actual: $103,808,533

FY11 Supertintendent Request: $106,371,217

FY11 School Board Request: $106,371,217

FY11 Approved Budget: $100,693,774

Total School Instruction Budget:

FY09 Actual: $177,767,679

FY10 Adopted Budget: $181,399,909

FY10 Estimated Actual: $169,931,477

FY11 Supertintendent Request: $183,119,929

FY11 School Board Request: $175,492,747

FY11 Approved Budget: $175,492,747

Total School Operating Budget:

FY09 Actual: $242,405,003

FY10 Adopted Budget: $248,480,087

FY10 Estimated Actual: $233,434,297

FY11 Supertintendent Request: $251,886,144

FY11 School Board Request: $242,939,383

FY11 Approved Budget: $237,261,940


  • Phil

    I think its important to note that it isn’t just raises for “Central Office Administrators” that were not funded, but that the Board of Supervisors basically decided not to fund anything that didn’t fit into the politically sensitive “Instructional” category. This includes possibly not funding 12 month positions, the majority of which do not fall into the “Administrator” category. These are positions that are much needed year round and will severely impact the services received by the “Instructional” side of the house should they be reduced. This also includes ensuring the children have the appropriate technological equipment and services to stay on par with current educational needs. Please understand that we aren’t trying to fund “High Paid Central Office Big-Wigs” here, but pay hard working men and women who serve you and your children proudly, often working long hours with no extra pay in order to complete tasks and projects for departments that are already understaffed. Shame on our Board of Supervisors for not recognizing this, and for some of the shameful body language and comments made by certain members in regards to this. To them I would like to remind you, “The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is open.”

  • Phil

    …just a quick edit to the above..The Board of Supervisors did not FULLY fund the non-instructional requests that were already stripped down to bare bones.

  • havingfun

    Amen Phil. They think they are being slick by doing this…what a joke and what a slap in the face. If the SB follows their recommendation and only gives a raise to Teachers, it will totally divide the staff and turn already poor morale into chaos. This is just political grandstanding and the kids and employees deserve better.

    I am also sick of hearing about “central office”. Those folks support THIRTY schools….and not everyone at CO is an “administrator” that people seem to hate (for no apparent reason other than they are administrators). If you look closely, most of the staff at CO are not on the admin salary scale at all…even the Instructional Coordinators are not…they are on the teacher salary scale! There are lots of teachers that make more money than they do!

    Anyway, this is just all politics and the BOS just wants to stick it to the schools and the SB seems to be letting it happen without a complaint.

  • Hollerback

    What it is going to boil down to is, what the definition of is, IS. What is included and UNDERSTOOD by both Boards to what is considered Instructional, non-instructional, etc. Otherwise, we’re going to see a lot more of what we’ve seen this month, and months prior. This does not sound like an improvement in relations to me!

  • havingfun

    hoollerback… are right. The schools see everything they do as instructional because it ALL impacts students….transportation, nutrition, technology, maintenance….

    The BOS just sees teachers, period.

  • havingfun

    oops! Hollerback,,,,not hoolerback! :)

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