Surry schools seeking increase in county funding for 2023-24

Published 4:20 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Surry County’s School Board has adopted a $17.9 million budget for the 2023-24 school year.

The total reflects a roughly $2.8 million decrease from last year’s $20.79 million budget. The overall budget is composed of three funds: the general fund, grants fund and school food services fund.

The decrease is primarily due to a $3.2 million reduction in the grants fund, but would be partially offset by extra state funding and a requested increase to the county’s contribution.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Surry’s $16.5 million general fund, which accounts for the vast majority of the total budget, amounts to a $416,837, or 2.58%, increase over the current year.

State funding comprises $3.4 million of the total budget, and amounts to a $206,942, or 6.47%, increase over the current year despite a projected drop in Surry’s enrollment from 650 students to 643.

The School Board is requesting a $209,895, or 1.63%, increase in county funding. At the start of the current school year, the county contributed $12.8 million in local tax dollars to its school system’s budget.

Included in the school system’s budget is funding for the 5% raises mandated in the state’s 2022-24 biennial budget. However, three full-time positions will be cut for a cost savings of $262,780.

“This operating budget reflects our continuing efforts to strategically adjust staffing levels in response to student enrollment decline; while maintaining a commitment to small, effective class sizes,” states a March 9 letter from School Board Chairwoman Laura Ruffin to county supervisors, who will have the final say as to how much local funding the school system receives.

Superintendent Serbrenia Sims is scheduled to present the budget to the supervisors at their March 6 meeting. County Administrator Melissa Rollins is scheduled to present the county’s overall 2023-24 budget that same evening.