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Westmoreland School Board approves budget that is 12 percent lower than this year
Date published: 3/23/2010
With a reluctant 3-2 vote, the Westmoreland County School Board adopted a $16.3 million budget for next year amid predictions that the 12 percent cut from this year's $18.5 million budget will harm education.
"We will not educate our children as well next year as we did this year," Superintendent Elaine Fogliani said of the budget that will see about 20 school employees lose their jobs and a pre-kindergarten program eliminated.
Three assistant principals will also lose their jobs. Most classroom teachers will keep their jobs at their present salaries, but they will be taking less money home due to higher deductions for health insurance and retirement plans and, in the case of high school teachers, the loss of stipends for after-school work.
Next year, county schools will receive $811,087 less state aid and approximately $700,000 less federal aid. County school funding is expected to remain level at $7.4 million, Fogliani said.
Cuts in revenue, however, were significantly offset by a state reduction in required contributions to the Virginia Retirement System. "This is what saved us," she said.
Speakers at the budget's public hearing bemoaned the loss of the pre-kindergarten program. Eliminating its teachers and classroom aides will save about $254,000.
One of those teachers, Katie Kowalczyk, said, "Pre-K is critical, especially since 60 percent of Westmoreland students live in poverty."
Other speakers said the school community should urge the Board of Supervisors to raise taxes to provide additional school funding.
"I'm a Republican. I don't like taxes. But it's time to put the ball back in the Board of Supervisors court," said Dorothy B. Langmack.
In other business, the School Board:
Approved a resolution suggested by County Administrator Norm Risavi asking the supervisors to appropriate $150,000 from the schools' fund balance to build a new concession stand at Washington & Lee High School.
Eliminated four days of spring break to make up for snow days. Good Friday and Easter Monday will remain school holidays/
Approved a resolution requesting a $2 million bond issue to replace W&L's roof and heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment.
Frank Delano: 804/761-4300