By: Meredith Baker | Email: Click Here
Posted: January 17, 2018 | 1:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – Dinwiddie County Public Schools has begun the process of creating a budget for fiscal year 2020. Director of Finance Christie Fleming recently presented an update to the school board about what state education funding looks like in the governor’s proposed budget released in December.
“There is a significant increase in K-12 funding, which is really, really good,” Fleming said.
The governor’s proposed budget plans to gain more revenue through policy revisions regarding taxes collected from internet sales and through conformity to federal tax changes. The proposal provides some funding for localities to give teachers a five percent raise, as opposed to the three percent raise that was anticipated, and divisions can count raises given in the current year towards that amount, but Fleming said that funding only covers the state share of positions mandated by the standards of quality. Most employees of Dinwiddie County Public Schools did see some type of salary increase for the current year.
“For Dinwiddie, the only group that really did not receive an increase as a group last year were our paraprofessionals, so we know we will have to at least look at those,” Fleming said.
Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston said that the division intends to be aggressive about setting teacher salaries so that Dinwiddie County Public Schools will be able to compete with other divisions when it comes to hiring. The current salary scale starts at $43,000.
“I think the time has come,” Weston said. “That beginning teacher salary has got to be closer to 50.”
Fleming said that the governor’s proposal also includes increases to at-risk funding, the supplemental lottery per-pupil amount, and, due to the revenue forecast, the funding from sales tax. It also partially funds guidance counselors for schools of a certain size, and all the division’s schools except Sunnyside and Dinwiddie Elementary will qualify for that funding.
The school division will be able to plan on more state funding due to enrollment, as well. Fleming said that the average daily membership as of December was 4,323. The current year’s budget was based on expected enrollment of only 4,250.
Although the division is already looking ahead to fiscal year 2020, the school board also adjusted the current year’s budget at the January meeting. A total of $686,523.40 was added to this year’s budget from funds left over at the end of the year. Most of that money was already in one of the school’s specialized funds, which include funds for nutrition, grants, textbooks, and capital projects, and that money will remain in those funds, but part of the money from the general school fund has also been transferred to capital projects. The school division had requested the county to re-appropriate $150,298.84 left over from the general fund to school capital projects for vehicles, solar film for some windows, and some maintenance expenses.
According to Deputy County Administrator Anne Howerton, an additional $92,326.16 left over from the school fund has not been transferred back to the school budget but will go towards renovations at the Pamplin Building.
The appropriation of the carryover funds has already been approved by the board of supervisors.