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Spotsy schools to gain $1 mil
Spotsy schools will gain from state budget

Date published: 3/23/2010

BY PAMELA GOULD

Spotsylvania County School Superintendent Jerry Hill said he anticipates a net $1 million gain from the budget approved earlier this month by the General Assembly.

The school division received an additional $7.2 million cut in state revenue in the final budget approved by the state legislature on March 14, but that was offset by an estimated $8.2 million reduction in the amount of money the county schools must pay toward the Virginia Retirement System and group life insurance.

Hill said he was hesitant about stating any dollar figure until he was certain of the calculations, but he estimated the reduction in what the division must pay toward the retirement system at about 6 percent. Finance staff members were continuing yesterday to try to determine the exact impact of the state budget.

The complication in determining the impact was in calculating exactly how much of a reduction there would be to the retirement system because it was not a flat percentage across all personnel.

"Finance staff is having to go through this employee category by employee category," he said.

What wasn't in doubt was the additional cut in state revenue.

"We know that we've lost another $7.2 million," Hill told the School Board at its meeting last night.

The fiscal 2011 budget approved by the School Board in February had already cut $15 million from the current year's budget, primarily because of cuts in state revenue. The budget eliminated 138 positions and teachers have been concerned that furloughs could result from additional cuts.

Hill cautioned the board last night about committing the $1 million net gain to recurring costs. He noted that for fiscal 2012 the state will not allow as large a decrease in what schools must pay toward the retirement system and that in 2013, they will be paying the full amount again.

With Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Skinner in the meeting room, Hill repeated that it is "critical" that the county provide the school division level funding for the coming school year.

County Administrator Doug Barnes has recommended to the Board of Supervisors that the school division receive the same $113.8 million it is receiving this school year.

The two boards meet tonight in a joint work session.

Last night, Hill urged parents to fill out the U.S. census forms that have been mailed to homes for the benefit of all Spotsylvanians.

"I would encourage everyone to respond because it means dollars and cents to the county," he said.

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