Bath School Board, Supervisors discuss finacial issues
Hot Springs, Va. –
The Bath School Board held its quarterly work session with the Bath Board of Supervisors on Monday night and the School Board outlined some hopes for its budget next year.
School Superintendent Sue Hirsh discussed the requests on the schools’ Capital Improvement Plan for next year. Number one on the list is the replacement of some doors at Valley Elementary and at the high school. The doors need to be replaced at Valley since they can be difficult to open and have been cited by the Fire Marshall. Second on the CIP is camera surveillance systems and door locks for both elementary schools. These systems will be the same as what’s been recently installed at the high school. And third on the CIP is two new buses. The total cost for the CIP items is over $377,000.
There was also a report on unanticipated revenue that has come to the school system. This money was not in the school budget since the school system either didn’t know it would be receiving it or didn’t know how much it would be receiving. A total of over $139,000 in federal money and over $11,000 in state money has been received. This money will go into the county budget. Hirsh said the School Board and the Board of Supervisors have discussed for several years setting aside unanticipated revenue to some degree for school CIP projects. She said it would be appreciated it if that would happen.
Hirsh also outlined budget development so far. She said they’ve started with level funding from the current year and based the preliminary budget on 600 students. There are several things affecting budget development. Sequestration, which is an 8.2% decrease across the board in federal programs, health insurance costs, which may be a 15% increase, and the Governor’s recommendation of a 2% raise for Standards of Quality funded teaching positions. That raise would require a match by localities. The School Board would also like to give all school employees a raise which would add $108,000 to the budget. Overall the preliminary budget at this point is 3.63% higher than the previous budget.
There was also discussion about the teacher pay scale. Technology and Administrative Services Director Paul Lancaster said Bath County doesn’t compete with teacher and administrative salaries according to other school divisions. Bath is near the bottom of the teacher pay scale out of the 131 school divisions in Virginia. The School Board expressed hope in being able to raise teachers pay over a period of time to make Bath more competitive. Lancaster also discussed the need to adjust the school secretary pay scale. A couple of years ago the custodian pay scale was adjusted in order to keep starting custodians’ salaries above minimum wage. With that adjustment, in some cases custodians are now making more than school secretaries. Lancaster said $17,000 in additional money will bring up the secretary pay scale.