By Zach Armstrong
DINWIDDIE, Va -- Superintendent Kari Weston laid out the FY22 proposed school board budget at the most recent school board meeting.
Gov. Northam’s proposed budget increases funding for Dinwiddie County by $409,251 with a reduction of $35,500 in other areas. Compensation increases and one-time enrollment loss funding drives much of the proposed state funding increase.
The FY22 proposed Dinwiddie School budget increases funding from the local government by $1,325,300 making up 33.5% of the operating budget of the actual school division budget. This would be an increase of 1.5% from the FY20 budget but no change over the previous one.
The proposed revenue for the FY22 budget would be an increase of $1.69 million from the previous budget bringing in $49.2 million. 65.6% of the revenue is generated from the state, 33.5% from the county and less than 1% coming from federal aid and other local sources.
The proposed budget would raise beginning teacher salaries to $45,500 and would give all other employees a 2% raise.
With a current starting teacher salary at $44,500, Dinwiddie ranks among the lowest among neighboring school divisions ahead only of the city of Colonial Heights and the counties of Sussex and New Kent.
The proposed FY22 budget would make starting teacher salaries at Dinwiddie higher than four other localities that currently pay more (Prince George, Powhatan, Hanover and Goochland). However, that will be contingent on whether those divisions choose to raise their salaries in their upcoming budget as well.
The budget also adds new positions to the school division including two Social Workers for attendance and truancy, a School Resource Officer and a Director of Innovation and Development.
As of 2020, Dinwiddie also had one of the lowest administration costs per pupil in the area, second only to Chesterfield. Dinwiddie also had one of the lowest instruction costs per pupil.
Costs to Health Care under the proposed budget would increase by $399,234, costs to Contracted Services would increase by $101,720, costs to Regional Schools Tuition would increase by $31,184 and costs to Fuel would increase by $50,000.
Instructional Programs would take up 70% of the cost of the proposed budget while attendance and health would take up 2%, administration would take up 3%, transportation would take up 7%, maintenance would take up 13% and technology would take up 5%.
According to a presentation given by Superintendent Weston, the school division will be operating based off a $49.2 million operating budget for FY22 with nearly 625 full-time positions, 22 buildings, approximately 1.8M miles traveled by buses, about 526,000 meals served, about 6,500 computer devices and will be serving 4,100 students and their families.
The school division currently has 16% of its students qualifying for special education, 2% speaking English as their second language and 52% qualifying for free lunch.
On March 9, there will be a joint meeting where the proposed budget will be presented to the county. The community can give their input via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.dinwiddie.k12.va.us/discoverdcps/school-board.