School Board Meeting Budget Update - February 20, 2018

During its meeting on February 20, 2018, the School Board received a report from Finance Committee Chairman Michael Lake regarding the Finance Committee meeting held on February 12, 2018. Mr. Lake noted Executive Director of Finance Patty Camery responded to questions during the committee meeting that were posed by Board members following the presentation of the Superintendent’s Proposed FY19 Budget on February 6, 2018.

During Mrs. Camery’s presentation to the Finance Committee, she shared:
  • Historically, shipping costs run about 10 percent of textbook costs. She also informed the committee that the full-time equivalent position included in the Private Purpose Fund is for a driver for Bright Futures. The position will be paid through the Frederick County Public Schools’ payroll, but Winchester City Schools will reimburse FCPS.
  • The Superintendent’s Proposed Budget includes $137,000 to lease 12 modular units or six classrooms at Robert E. Aylor Middle School. Assistant Superintendent for Administration Al Orndorff added that the three modular units currently in use at Aylor will be removed. Dr. Orndorff stated the additional space will also provide the school with additional flexibility as maintenance projects are undertaken that may require classes to be relocated for a period of time.
  • The school division should be replacing 13 buses each year and the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget only includes funds to purchase two new buses to handle student growth. Mrs. Camery added the division hopes to purchase additional buses with remaining FY18 funds.
  • The pilot preschool program will require no local funding in FY19. Approximately $600,000 in federal VPI+ grants will support the program in FY19.
  • The location of the proposed elementary alternative program has not yet been determined. Principals will be consulted regarding the best location and the availability of space in existing elementary schools. Ideally, the program would be centrally located within the school division.
  • The Superintendent’s Proposed Budget does not eliminate any current positions. Mrs. Camery stated there were 114 new positions requested by principals and department directors as part of the budget development process with 75 of those being cut prior to the Superintendent presenting his proposed budget. The budget proposal includes 39 new positions in the School Operating Fund.
  • In developing the proposed targeted salary initiative, staff compared the school division’s pay scales to other Virginia school division’s within a 30-mile radius and where applicable, Frederick County Government. The targeted salary initiative that’s been proposed by the Superintendent focuses on certain areas which fell behind the market based on the comparison.
  • The requested appropriation for the Robert E. Aylor Middle School replacement will have no impact on the FY19 budget. The first payment toward a bond issue for the Aylor project will not be due until FY21 based on the current timeline for the project.
The Board also convened a budget worksession as part of its regular meeting on February 20. During the worksession, Mrs. Camery reviewed information regarding the age of the buses in the school division’s fleet. She shared that the Virginia Department of Education’s recommended life span for a bus is 15 years. Seventy-three of the school division’s buses are over 15-years-old and 151 are less than 15-years-old. She also reviewed debt service projections, including the debt associated with construction of the 12th elementary school.