Surry schools budget $20M for 2022-23

Published 1:42 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the amount of state funds budgeted.

Surry County Public Schools has proposed a budget of just under $20.8 million for the 2022-23 school year.

The proposal amounts to a nearly 19% increase over the current school year’s $17.49 million budget. The majority of the increase would come from an anticipated $2.6 million increase in grant funding.

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According to Superintendent Dr. Serbrenia Sims, the proposed budget reflects “a combination of reductions in prior year staffing levels and related costs” and “a request for a modest increase in local funding.”

Surry County contributed $12.6 million to its school system at the start of the current school year, with its local contribution accounting for just over 79.5% of Surry County Public Schools’ general operating fund.

The operating fund accounts for roughly 77% of SCPS’s overall budget, with grants accounting for 19% and the school food services fund accounting for the remaining 2.6%.

Sims is proposing the county contribute an additional $221,316, or 1.75%, which would bring Surry’s local contribution to $12.8 million for the 2022-23 school year.

Within the school system’s proposed general operating fund, Sims expects the school system to receive around $3.2 million in state funding – a nearly $400,000 increase over the prior year’s allocation – despite a projected 4.2% drop in student population. Surry began the current school year with 656 students and is projecting 643 by September.

The proposed budget would eliminate two full-time positions, one clerical and one custodial, at a savings of just under $130,000, and provide a 5% salary increase for all full-time employees in keeping with the 10.25% raise former Gov. Ralph Northam proposed giving teachers over the next two years in the 2022-2024 biennial state budget he drafted in December before leaving office. The 5% raises are projected to cost the school system a total of $582,000.

Surry’s School Board held public hearings on Sims’ proposed budget on Feb. 15 and March 1. The budget is due to be presented to Surry’s Board of Supervisors on March 24. The county will then hold a public hearing on its overall budget, to include its contribution to Surry County Public Schools, on May 5 and is scheduled to take action on its budget on May 12. The School Board is scheduled to approve a final budget based on the county’s contribution May 17.

The new budgets will take effect July 1.