The Henry County School Board heard an update about the fiscal year 2024 budget at its meeting on Feb. 2. Director of Finance Dr. Benjamin Boone said the division expects to receive an update about the state budget around Feb. 9 from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
“As many of you already know, there was an error within the calculation tool that the Virginia Department of Education sends out to the school divisions. That error could have an impact on us this school year of about $600,000, and next school year, that could be about $1.5 million less in the Virginia funding,” he said.
Boone said the budget for the fiscal year 2023 is a little bit over $100 million, with the projected budget for the next fiscal year about $300,000 more, based on level funding from the county.
“That $300,000 is projected to come from the state. It’s tied to one of the Governor’s proposed minutes for the one percent retention bonus for school staff. It’s proposed to be paid out in September,” he said.
Boone said if the local funding remains level, there will be a decrease of about $638,000 in discretionary funds going into the division’s coffers next school year.
Over the summer, the General Assembly passed a five percent raise for all employees. “The state share is a little over $4 million, the local share is about $1.1 million, and the total funding for that is about $5 million,” he said.
Boone said while the increase in state funding will be about $300,000, the required five percent is $5 million.
“So out of that budget, that’s pretty much remaining the same. We got an increase from the state government and local government,” but the division must find about $5 million to pay for the pay raises, he said.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed one percent retention bonus will be $343,881 from the state, and a local share of $77,600, which means there will be a total increase from the local government of about $700,000, he said.
In addition to the 5 percent increase for teachers, Boone said the school system is also looking at a 1 percent step raise for the fiscal year 2024.
Classified staff will also receive the 1 percent step and 5 percent raises; transportation staff, including bus drivers and bus driver aides, are expected to receive a 7 percent pay increase, and administrators will receive a 5 percent increase, he said. Grant-funded positions also will receive increases based on their role.
“We are also looking at increases for our part-time staff. The part-time staff consists of our substitute positions, our hourly paid employees, and some of our reading assistants,” he said.
Boone anticipates an increase in the fuel line of the budget due to the rising cost of fuel, and a possible increase because of the results of the Evergreen Compensation Study.
“Then, currently we are looking at vacant positions, we’re evaluating those positions and student numbers and certain programs, and what those additional costs may be there too,” he said.
Other potential costs include utility increases and the purchase of school buses.
Boone said the school division also receives $3 million from the state in capital funding for a school construction grant, but “that $3 million will not be there for facilities next year. Our current facilities budget is $3,593,000.”
Barring any increases in state and local funding, the budget will remain the same going into next year.
“Our budget next year would actually absorb this $3 million that’s dispersed to various categories. If the budget is absorbing that $3 million, you still have to find about $2 million in order to provide the raises within the existing budget,” he said.
In other matters, the board:
*Recognized students who were named to the first- and second-team All-District Scholastic Bowl.
*Recognized the students named to the All-District Level Symphonic Band.
*Recognized students named to the All-District Level Concert Band.
*Recognized the third week of February as School Board Clerk Appreciation week.
*Recognized February as School Board Appreciation Month, Black History Month, and Career and Technical Education Month.
*Heard from members of Magna Vista High School Future Farmers of America (FFA).
*Approved the consent agenda as presented.