VBCPS - Ahead of the Curve
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kathy O'Hara
Date: 02/06/13 Phone: 757.263.1075
News Release No. 067 Fax: 757.263.1010
Email: [email protected]

VBCPS proposed operating budget for 2013-14 addresses a $15.9 million shortfall

Superintendent James G. Merrill presented a $680.4 million budget proposal to the School Board at its Tuesday, Feb, 5 meeting. The budget proposal, known formally as the Superintendent's Estimate of Needs, addresses a $15.9 million funding shortfall. Merrill called attention to the fact that the shortfall facing the schools was initially much larger, totaling almost $32 million. However, the ability to move money out of school savings helped buy down that shortfall to a more manageable level.

He emphasized that sacrifices and improvements made over recent years, such as cutting positions, initiating an energy savings program and eliminating targeted programs, allowed Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) to realize savings which have served as a hedge against the challenges of a volatile economy. In fact, over the last three years, VBCPS moved $37 million out of savings into the respective operating budgets, undoubtedly saving jobs and services for children. The cost-saving strategies the superintendent outlined for next fiscal year are designed to shield classrooms as much as is possible. These strategies include:

  • Implementing a hiring freeze at the central administrative level with an eye toward eliminating six to 10 positions
  • Cutting all non-personnel department budgets by 5 percent
  • Increasing class size by a .25 student ratio - while designed to save money this small adjustment should not have a significant, material effect on classroom instruction
  • Recouping savings through the implementation of a new high school master schedule and by adjusting personnel budgets downward to address turnover and smaller than projected student enrollment

In addition, Chief Financial Officer Farrell Hanzaker gave the School Board a brief overview on the recommended Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget. The six-year proposal, covering the time period from FY 2013-14 to FY 2018-19, stands at $217.3 million. The CIP is the school system's plan that addresses funding of construction and renovation needs. Hanzaker told Board that the proposed CIP is $10.5 million less than the current CIP, a result of decreasing funding streams. As a result, some replacement/renovation projects will have to be delayed and summer maintenance scaled back.

A copy of the superintendent's and chief financial officer's joint presentation to the School Board is now posted on the Lowdown on Your School Dollars page on vbschools.com.

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Department of Media and Communications Development, [email protected]

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