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PULASKI COUNTY SCHOOLS BUDGET CRISIS “…We estimate that it would be necessary

One of the highlights of the School Board Thursday night meeting was an update of Pulaski County Public Schools’ Estimate of Needs for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 by Director of Finance, Chris Stafford.
In his itemized presentation, the projected loss in state revenue is around $3,244,109 but he added that this projected shortfall “will likely be higher in the final appropriation bill.”
Stafford also sees increases in expenditures in employer-paid VRS contributions of $447,000; estimated increase in health insurance premiums is about $208,204; and electric bill rate increase will gobble up another $274,250.
Unrealized offset benefits from local revenue in School Board and school budget will produce $699,163 in increased expenditures or a total of $3,943,272 in operating budget shortfall.
Furthermore, Stafford added that the public schools are also facing capital needs for 2010-2011 in the following areas: Estimated cost to repair the roof at PCHS field house will run $102,000; an estimated cost of six mobile units needed for consolidation of the middle schools ($180,000); replacing the schools telephone system due to expiring contract ($513,000) and cost of replacing computers, previously funded by VPSA ($318,000), for a grand total of $1,113,550.
Stafford concluded that this amount added to the budget shortfall of $3,943,272 will raise the total estimated operating budget shortfall for FY 2010-2011 to over $5 million.
Stafford pointed out that last year, Pulaski County School Board cut $1.2 million from its operating budget mostly in non-personnel areas. “Since approximately 87 percent of our operating budget is made up of personnel costs, further reductions will have an adverse impact on personnel,” he said. He added that after evaluating the current staff positions, “we estimate that it would be necessary to eliminate over 100 positions to address the shortfall.” He proffered the breakdown of these positions as 22 percent will come from administrative staff; 10 percent each from professional and classified.
He recommended that the School Board review the proposals and estimate of needs.
“The figures we see on the wall are not just numbers or dollars,” Stafford remarked at the end of the meeting. “They’re children from Pulaski County who will get hurt by not getting the kind of education they need.”
A budget workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 3:30 p.m.
In another matter, Joe Makolandra, director of human resources, recommended the approval of GCBC-R2 or “Employee Extended Work Plan,” for “those employees who are planning on retiring at the end of the academic school year.” One change shown is an option for an employee to choose between the employee extended work plan or the sick leave payout.
An employee who participates in this plan will be paid a maximum of 20 percent of his/her yearly income paid out in 12 monthly installments. As for insurance, the School Board will not contribute any money towards the annual premiums, and those enrolled in a group dental program will remain enrolled indefinitely provided they pay their own insurance premiums.
Makolandra says that the plan must be approved by the Board on a yearly basis and may limit participation should the Board deem it “in the best interest of the school system.” He urged participation in the program to help reduce the budget deficit.
At the beginning of the meeting, Melissa Gilbert was named Teacher of the Month for December 2009. Gilbert is a 7th Grade teacher at Dublin Middle School with 15 years of service. “Ms. Gilbert is recognized by her nominator as an example for both novice and veteran teachers,” said Interim School Superintendent Thomas Brewster. “Her expectations are high for herself and her students.”
Gilbert was presented a plaque by Board Chairman Paul Phillips.
In another matter, Dr. Bridget Parson, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, presented the Board with field trips for review and approval.
Dr. Brewster made some recommendations on how to make up for lost school days due to inclement weather.
Up next: Thursday and Friday (Feb. 18-19), the School Board will attend the VBSA Legislative Conference; Thursday, Feb. 25 (Board Meeting); Tuesday, Mar. 2 (SWVAGS Board Meeting); Thursday, March 11 (School Board Meeting); Wednesday, March 17 (VSBA Hot Topics Conference in Wytheville Community Center) and Thursday, March 25 (School Board Meeting).

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PULASKI COUNTY SCHOOLS BUDGET CRISIS “…We estimate that it would be necessary

One of the highlights of the School Board Thursday night meeting was an update of Pulaski County Public Schools’ Estimate of Needs for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 by Director of Finance, Chris Stafford.
In his itemized presentation, the projected loss in state revenue is around $3,244,109 but he added that this projected shortfall “will likely be higher in the final appropriation bill.”
Stafford also sees increases in expenditures in employer-paid VRS contributions of $447,000; estimated increase in health insurance premiums is about $208,204; and electric bill rate increase will gobble up another $274,250.
Unrealized offset benefits from local revenue in School Board and school budget will produce $699,163 in increased expenditures or a total of $3,943,272 in operating budget shortfall.
Furthermore, Stafford added that the public schools are also facing capital needs for 2010-2011 in the following areas: Estimated cost to repair the roof at PCHS field house will run $102,000; an estimated cost of six mobile units needed for consolidation of the middle schools ($180,000); replacing the schools telephone system due to expiring contract ($513,000) and cost of replacing computers, previously funded by VPSA ($318,000), for a grand total of $1,113,550.
Stafford concluded that this amount added to the budget shortfall of $3,943,272 will raise the total estimated operating budget shortfall for FY 2010-2011 to over $5 million.
Stafford pointed out that last year, Pulaski County School Board cut $1.2 million from its operating budget mostly in non-personnel areas. “Since approximately 87 percent of our operating budget is made up of personnel costs, further reductions will have an adverse impact on personnel,” he said. He added that after evaluating the current staff positions, “we estimate that it would be necessary to eliminate over 100 positions to address the shortfall.” He proffered the breakdown of these positions as 22 percent will come from administrative staff; 10 percent each from professional and classified.
He recommended that the School Board review the proposals and estimate of needs.
“The figures we see on the wall are not just numbers or dollars,” Stafford remarked at the end of the meeting. “They’re children from Pulaski County who will get hurt by not getting the kind of education they need.”
A budget workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 3:30 p.m.
In another matter, Joe Makolandra, director of human resources, recommended the approval of GCBC-R2 or “Employee Extended Work Plan,” for “those employees who are planning on retiring at the end of the academic school year.” One change shown is an option for an employee to choose between the employee extended work plan or the sick leave payout.
An employee who participates in this plan will be paid a maximum of 20 percent of his/her yearly income paid out in 12 monthly installments. As for insurance, the School Board will not contribute any money towards the annual premiums, and those enrolled in a group dental program will remain enrolled indefinitely provided they pay their own insurance premiums.
Makolandra says that the plan must be approved by the Board on a yearly basis and may limit participation should the Board deem it “in the best interest of the school system.” He urged participation in the program to help reduce the budget deficit.
At the beginning of the meeting, Melissa Gilbert was named Teacher of the Month for December 2009. Gilbert is a 7th Grade teacher at Dublin Middle School with 15 years of service. “Ms. Gilbert is recognized by her nominator as an example for both novice and veteran teachers,” said Interim School Superintendent Thomas Brewster. “Her expectations are high for herself and her students.”
Gilbert was presented a plaque by Board Chairman Paul Phillips.
In another matter, Dr. Bridget Parson, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, presented the Board with field trips for review and approval.
Dr. Brewster made some recommendations on how to make up for lost school days due to inclement weather.
Up next: Thursday and Friday (Feb. 18-19), the School Board will attend the VBSA Legislative Conference; Thursday, Feb. 25 (Board Meeting); Tuesday, Mar. 2 (SWVAGS Board Meeting); Thursday, March 11 (School Board Meeting); Wednesday, March 17 (VSBA Hot Topics Conference in Wytheville Community Center) and Thursday, March 25 (School Board Meeting).

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