Superintendent Pam Moran’s funding request passed by School Board 6-1
School Board votes to advance Moran's $164.28million funding request
The Albemarle County School Board voted 6-1 last Tuesday to proceed with Superintendent Pam Moran’s $164.28 million funding request. Board members convened to determine if the budget request needed adjustments before sending the proposal to the Board of Supervisors for approval, ultimately deciding to pass Moran’s request in its initial form.
School Board Chair Ned Gallaway said the original budget request did not contain superfluous recommendations and merited the board’s approval.
“Every dollar in [the budget] should be an expression of those things that we believe are really important in our work as educators and those who support the educators in the field,” Moran said in her original presentation of the budget in January.
The 2013-14 request is, however, a “maintenance of effort” budget, Moran said. The School Board is currently facing a $7 million school budget deficit. If the Board of Supervisors approves the funding request in April, the tasks of apportioning and balancing the budget will then fall upon the School Board, and members said major cuts are unavoidable.“We’re going to have to make cuts regardless of what happens,” Gallaway said. “The types of cuts we are looking at are going to impact schools and the education system.”
The Board is anticipating about $8.5 million in cuts, he said. Depending on the spending gap, the School Board will have to make difficult decisions and execute cuts in “as small as $50,000 and up to $1.5 million chunks.”
Moran said enrollment growth, redistricting and sequestration are three of the county’s greatest problems in balancing the budget.
Operational cuts are likely to be the first implemented by the School Board, Gallaway said. Larger cuts could affect class sizes, compensation increases and staff. Gallaway also said there may be smaller, simpler solutions, like raising athletic fees.
Until the funding request is delivered and decided upon by the Board of Supervisors, the School Board will be “on hold,” Gallaway said.
“We will still have conversations about the prioritization of cuts,” he said. “But really we are going to be waiting until our final revenue picture is complete.”
Board member Jason Buyaki, who gave the only dissenting vote, could not be reached for comment. The final vote to send the budget request to the Board of Supervisors will take place on Thursday, Feb. 13, weather permitting.