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Spotsylvania school layoffs likely
Spotsylvania schools superintendent says some positions will be lost

Date published: 1/12/2010


Spotsylvania County Superintendent Jerry Hill says it will be "impossible" to protect all staff positions in the next budget with state revenue projected at $11 million less than he originally anticipated.

Three months ago, Hill anticipated the school division would see a $3.2 million shortfall for the next budget, which begins July 1.

But yesterday, Hill sent a memo to staff and parents predicting a $14.2 million decrease in state revenue for the fiscal 2011 budget based on data included in outgoing Gov. Tim Kaine's budget.

The latest figures come as Hill prepares to present his fiscal 2011 budget to the School Board next Tuesday.

The school division's current budget is $271.6 million, down $7.2 million from last year.

In anticipation of a brutal budget cycle, Spotsylvania School Board member Amanda Blalock said she's arming herself with information.

She already has the teacher salary scale, and staffing and salary data on administrators earning $100,000 or more from reports recently published in The Free Lance-Star.

On Friday, she asked school officials for data on middle management positions at the central office.

"Given the budget season we're in, I would be remiss not to overturn every stone," Blalock said yesterday.

Hill noted in yesterday's memo that 87 percent of last year's budget went for salaries and benefits. And he noted that over the past two years the division has cut 200 positions but avoided laying off people thanks to attrition and a new early retirement program.

"Every effort will continue to be made to minimize class-size increases; protect employee positions; and avoid permanent reductions in employee salaries," Hill wrote.

"However, with the $14.2 million in reductions we're facing, it will be impossible to protect all staff positions in the division this year."

School Board member Ray Lora dreads the decisions he faces. "We're going to have a terrible time putting this budget together this year because it's inevitable we're going to be cutting programs we cherish," he said.

But his biggest pain concerns personnel. "There are two things I consider sacred," he said. "One is laying off teachers and another is cutting their salary."

Board member James Gillespie expressed the same priorities. "It's going to be very difficult," Gillespie said. "But those are things I think are very important."

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972
Email: pgould@freelancestar.com

Spotsylvania Superintendent Jerry Hill will present his fiscal 2011 budget proposal at the next School Board meeting. A work session follows the presentation.

WHEN: Tuesday, Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m. WHERE: Administrative Services Building, 8020 River Stone Drive