Charles City School Board approves $6.65 million budget for FY2021-22
Charles City School Board members approved its proposed budget for FY2021-22 at Tuesday night’s meeting that saw a slight decrease in local contributions from the county.
At the recommendation of Superintendent of Schools Dalphine Joppy, school leaders voted 4-0 to approve requesting $6,650,828 in local funds as part of an overall budget of $11,366,610 for the upcoming cycle. District 1 representative Joy Harris was not present for the meeting.
Joppy spoke about the reduction of the school’s original request from the county in the amount of $6,843,772. Playing a role in the reducing of funds was a provision for summer school and an increased cost to restructure a position from a nurse’s clinic assistant to a full-time registered nurse. Those costs have been removed after being notified as they should be receiving a ESSER (Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief) funds to cover those changes.
The superintendent also commented about the uphill climb for the school to remain competitive. With Governor Ralph Northam’s budget being changed and adopted by the Virginia General Assembly, SOQ (Standards of Quality) positions are to receive an average salary increase of five percent over the biennium. Joppy informed school board members that because employees did not receive an increase in FY2020-21, the proposed FY22 budget includes an estimated state revenue of $57,633 based on employees receiving an average of three percent. Simply put, a local match is needed from county schools in order to receive funding for teacher increases at the state level.
Other focuses in the approved budget include a focus on increasing pay scales for teachers to remain competitive, increasing the instructional assistant salary rate to $13 an hour, and provide for mandated minimum wage increases that go into effect for several other positions that begin May 1.
The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) request is being reduced by $425,000, largely in part to the school system entering into an Energy Performance Contract (EPC). The construction period of the EPC is expected to end in the Spring of 2022, with the proposed budget reflecting two months of savings. A net reduction of $280,436 is expected in the school’s CIP, with the major contributors being the financing lease for the EPC ($250,926), and the request of one regular school bus ($120,000).
The school system is requesting an additional $315,566 in additional funding in comparison to FY2021, equivalent to a five percent increase. According to Joppy, that ask of county leadership is the same as many small school divisions are requesting for financial support.
The only item that was separated from the school’s budget was the replacement of the wastewater treatment plant. Cost of that task is approximately $500,000, but both the school board and county leaders have been working to find a way to finance the project and resolve the situation. Those talks remain ongoing.