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Wise County School Board set to sail into calmer fiscal seas

Stephen Igo • Jun 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM

WISE — After several years of financial storms, the Wise County School Board is set to clear the 2017-18 fiscal year decks and sail full speed ahead into the calmer fiscal seas of 2018-19.

The board on Tuesday approved a FY 2017-18 budget amendment to tidy up the current fiscal year that reflects up-to-date state, federal and other revenue source numbers including $842,752 more state dollars during the current fiscal year and more than $1.4 million in federal program funds, along with an uptick in the county’s share of sales tax revenues, pass-through dollars and assorted other revenue items.

The total budget amendment for the current fiscal year, a matter of end-of-fiscal year housekeeping, is $2,640,000 and will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Thursday.

Last month, supervisors stepped back from a proposed $850,000 local funding cut to the school division for next fiscal year and opted to level fund Wise County Public Schools for FY 2018-19. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Superintendent Greg Mullins told the board that supervisors, along with everyone else, “want to see our school division continue to be one of the most successful and highest performing in the state,” and the school division is “very thankful, very appreciative” that supervisors opted for level funding for the new fiscal year.

That enables the School Board to enact its plan to “fix” the teacher salary scale after nearly a decade of teachers receiving no pay raises during an extremely lean stretch of funding.

“We are pleased overall with the (new fiscal year) budget,” said Mullins, “and we will make the most efficient use of those dollars that we can.”

In other matters, the board agreed to hold next month’s session on July 24 to provide administrators with the flexibility to make new hires as close as possible to the new school year that begins in early August.

The board also paid homage to Union High School swimmer Ashley Cusano, who claimed her second straight state title in the 100 meter backstroke and broke her own state record in that event set last year.

The board also recognized the 2018 Union state champion 4x100 track relay team of James Mitchell, Dakota Owens, Avery Jenkins and Ty Cockrel.

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