NEW: School Officials Optimistic On State Budget
HARRISONBURG — The final numbers aren’t in yet, but local school divisions seem to think they’re in good shape for the upcoming fiscal year, based on Thursday evening’s state budget deal.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has not signed off on the bill, and Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County public schools have not received official numbers from the Virginia Department of Education.
Still, school officials are optimistic that they budgeted accurately and will not have any serious shortfalls.
Cheryl Mast, finance director for RCPS, said preliminary estimates indicate the division may receive $50,000 less in state revenue than expected.
“If that is the case, we are in good shape,” she said. “$50,000 out of a $120 million budget isn’t going to have that major of an impact.”
Mast said the division won’t have to cut from elsewhere in the budget to make up for the potential decrease in funds. Expenses will be monitored throughout the year to keep the division in the black, but it is likely less money will be spent in another area and it will all balance out.
For example, if a teacher decides to leave the division before the end of the school year, a substitute will be found, and substitutes cost less money, Mast said. Or, an employee may make changes to his or her health plan that could result in savings for RCPS.
HCPS Superintendent Scott Kizner also said he’s not overly concerned about the budget deal. He does not anticipate having any issues with decreased funding because the division used conservative estimates when projecting state allocations.
“We’re still waiting for the details. But how I’m understanding it, we chose never to factor in the House, Senate and Gov. McAuliffe’s amended budget,” he said, referring to proposed amendments that could have resulted in thousands more in state revenue for HCPS. “By not doing that, I think we used the smarter pathway to doing a budget.”
Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.