After brief comments of support from the Wise County Education Association and Virginia Professional Educators, no other county residents appeared at Tuesday’s school board public hearing to comment on the $60.41 million budget.
Superintendent Greg Mullins told the board that Wednesday’s document reflects what board members have discussed at two previous budget workshops in April.
The county’s anticipated share of the budget revenue — $11.87 million — is level from the current fiscal year based on discussions with county officials, Mullins told the board
Teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, maintenance, clerical, food service, bookkeeping and custodial staff will see pay increases through adjustments to their applicable salary step scales. The school system received $1.154 million in additional state funding after this year’s legislative session to give teachers the state share of an overall 5 percent raise.
At the board’s request earlier this month, system Finance Director Beth Shupe developed a step scale increase proposal for principals and assistant principals.
Shupe said the increase should pose little or no increase to budget numbers because two longtime school administrators high on the existing salary scale are retiring this year. Funds from those positions can be realigned to cover much if not all of the step increases, she said.
The approved budget also absorbs the $200,000 cost of a health plan increase without passing on higher premiums to employees.
Mullins said he is concerned about county-appropriated capital outlay funds: $150,000 in the past two fiscal years and projected to remain the same for the next budget year. That amount probably could not accommodate any major, unexpected facility need like roof or building repairs since most of the $150,000 will go to planned repairs and maintenance.
“We need to have more than $150,000,” said Mullins.
Overall, the 2020 budget plan is $1.352 million more than this year’s $59.1 million budget.
With no discussion, the board voted unanimously to approve the budget document, which will be sent to the Board of Supervisors for consideration in May during the county’s budget process.
If the board of supervisors rejects the document, the school board would have to develop a new budget plan and put it through a public hearing process before approving and resubmitting it to the supervisors.