IW schools’ budget plan reflects growth

Published 10:42 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Isle of Wight County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton is proposing a $62.6 million budget for fiscal year 2019, with a request for $939,984 in additional funding from the county to go toward new staffing positions.

The $939,984 request in additional funding from the county would be an increase of 3.7 percent from last year.

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The division requested no additional funding from the county in its budget last year. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

With a spike in average daily membership this year, the division qualified for a $1.7 million increase (5.7 percent) in funding from the state, the latest numbers showing an overall student increase of 97.2 (from 5,259.2 to 5,356.4).

The additional state funding was quickly eaten up by several “priority expenditures” added to the budget, which included long awaited raises for bus drivers (13.92 percent increase), nurses (5 percent) and instructional assistants (10 percent), as well as four new teaching positions at Smithfield High School, which saw a concentrated student increase in the ninth grade this year.

The new funding will also be used to cover the second half of a teacher pay raise set to go into full effect Feb. 15. The pay raises, which will be between 2 and 7.2 percent for the division’s teachers, were approved last year and will cost the division $601,755 in the upcoming budget.

The new state funding will also cover $100,000 for student field trips, fees for which the School Board opted to begin waiving for students last year.

The central office received $4.7 million in division-wide requests for the new year, much of them for staffing.

Of those requests, the division is prioritizing $957,000 worth, to include three more teaching positions at Smithfield High School, three teaching positions and a nurse assistant at Westside Elementary, a Smithfield Middle School guidance counselor, a music teacher at Carrollton Elementary and two special education teachers and two assistants.

“This is what we come to the table with saying that we think we have a chance of being funded,” said Executive Director of Finance Rachel Yates, who presented the proposal at the Feb. 8 School Board meeting.

The proposed budget leaves $3.8 million in division wide requests unaddressed.

A public hearing and work session will also be held Thursday, Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Windsor Elementary School. {/mprestriction}