Hanover School Board backs $170.7M budget

Hanover County’s school budget for next year just jumped through its first hoop — receiving the school board’s approval.

Tuesday night, the board unanimously approved the proposed spending plan for next year, which will restore 18 new instructor positions and raise all employee salaries by 2 percent while providing funds for instructional support for programs like tutoring or “Standards of Learning” remediation.

Teacher positions will be added for K-12 and gifted education and extra curricular programs like art or music.

Dr. Jamelle Wilson, superintendent

Dr. Jamelle Wilson, superintendent

Norman Sulser, Cold Harbor representative, was the first board member to move for approval of the $170.7 million operating budget, which Superintendent Dr. Jamelle Wilson proposed late last month.

Compared to the current budget of $162.1 million, the Fiscal Year 2015 plan increased by $8.6 million, driven by increased funding from the state and the county.

A big portion of funding for the operating budget comes from the state, unless its budget allocation for K-12 education changes when the General Assembly session ends. The allocation is expected to bring a total of $6 million increased state aid to go toward the Virginia Retirement System and Federal Insurance Contributions Act as well as special education and pre-school.

The county’s contribution to the budget has also increased by $2.1 million over the current year.

In addition to the operating budget, the board also approved the proposed $24.7 million, five-year Capital Improvement Plan. The money budgeted in the CIP approved on Tuesday evening is significantly less than last year’s plan, because of the removal of four full school renovations. David Myers, assistant superintendent of business and operations, said this is a result of the joint education committee’s decision, saying that there’s no imminent need for those large renovations.

Instead, the plan includes more focused and smaller renovations in 21 out of the division’s 25 schools such as roof repairs as well as kitchen and playground renovations. Four schools not included on that list include Kersey Creek Elementary School, Georgetown School and Hanover Center for Trades and Technology.

With the CIP, $1.6 million will go to buses and technology.  Out of that amount, $1 million will be allotted for replacing servers and networks across the division.

The rest of the money will help replace the division’s buses, in hopes that a bus will be phased out after 16 years of use.

The board also approved the $7 million school nutrition services spending plan, which Wilson described as a “self-sustaining budget.”

Chairman Robert L. Hundley Jr., Chickahominy District board member, thanked all staff members for the work and hours dedicated to creating the budget plans.

Likewise, Vice chairman Glenn T. Millican Jr., Mechanicsville board member, also expressed his gratitude to school officials and staff for putting the budget together. He also thanked the public for their input over the past several weeks.

“Whether it be good or bad, we appreciate your input,” he said.

Millican encouraged all to continue to speak out to the board.

However, Millican said he was not 100 percent happy with the final product, but he emphasized the fact that the budget will be changed.

“It doesn’t necessarily cast anything in stone,” Millican said.

A little over 40 people attended the Tuesday night meeting to hear the board’s verdict. South Anna Board Member Sue Dibble was absent.
The next step is for Wilson to present the financial plan to the board of supervisors Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.

Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm