Highland Supervisors Approve 2011-12 Budget Proposal That Means Deep Cuts For County School System

Monterey, VA – The Highland County Board of Supervisors adopted a budget proposal at last week’s meeting and set a public hearing on the county budget for Tuesday, April 19 at 7:30 PM. The county’s budget for next year is over 6.9 million dollars. The school budget amounts to just over 4 million dollars of that total.

The county’s proposed budget would require that the school reduce its budget by 67,795 dollars. School Superintendent Percy Nowlin spoke about the school budget at the recent Supervisors meeting.

“I’m here to try to remind you that we have only three sources of revenue for the schools; federal, state, and those two sources have cut considerably the amount of money that went to the schools this year” says Nowlin. “The other source of funding is the County and unfortunately when the federal government and state government cut we hope that the county will increase some of its funds in order to maintain quality education.”

He goes on to describe the school’s efforts to reduce its budget.

“We have cut over the last three years over half a million dollars” he says. “And we’re down to the point where any additional cuts are either going to effect a teacher who’s trying to achieve her 30th year so she can retire, or it’s going to affect our accreditation or our standards of quality.”

School Board CKihairman Kirk Billingsley responds to the Supervisors proposed county budget.

“With the cuts that you guys told us that we need to cut $67,000.00 if possible, our board met and we don’t feel like it’s possible” says Billingsley.

Mr. Billingley then talks about the effects of further cuts.

“Our schools are already, as Percy [Nowlin] said, at bare bones, we don’t have a lot of extras” he says. “I know you guys are disappointed with state cuts, but being stubborn and trying to reduce the funding is not just hurting the teachers and not just hurting the School Board, you’re hurting our children. That’s unconscionable to me; it’s our children that you’re punishing.”

Board of Supervisors chairman Robin Sullenberger responded that this is just a proposed county budget and that the Supervisors would like to hear responses from all the county offices that will be affected by the budget. The Supervisors then scheduled a budget work session with the School Board for Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30 PM to learn more about the possible effects of the proposed county budget on the school.

Stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio for future stories on the county and school budgets.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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