A proposed preliminary budget sees the Culpeper County School Board requesting a $3.9 million, or 12%, increase in funding from the county.
Local funding schools received this fiscal year totaled $31.6 million, a $1.3 million reduction from last year.
The new Culpeper Technical Education Center, scheduled to open in the fall, is responsible for $1.3 million of the requested increase. Those costs include adding nine teachers that will cover new courses offered at the school.
“You know what they say: If you build it they will come. Before they come you have to staff it to be able to operate it,” Rob Hauman, CCPS’ curriculum and instruction director, said.
The preliminary budget includes $1 million worth of required budgetary increases including:
$370,000 for an estimated 4.38% increase in health insurance costs
$36,000 in scaled salary raises
$634,000 for a 2.1% cost of living increase
Suggested, but not required, expenses included:
$1.7 million for a 3% salary increase
$608,000 for nine new positions
$1.1 million for materials increases
$1.7 million for elementary and secondary school emergency relief (ESSER) positions
$38,000 for additional stipends
Considering that the schools expect a $1.9 million state funding increase and ESSER positions being federally funded, the total requested increase is $3.9 million.
With everything considered, Superintendent Dr. Anthony Brads said “we don’t think this is a grandiose request at all.” The School Board agreed, and directed staff to proceed with the proposed budget request. The board of supervisors makes the ultimate decision in how much local funding the schools will receive.
In preparing for budget discussions, the school system recently released a survey seeking parent input. The survey received 598 responses, which is the most ever. The results were broken down by responses filled out in English and Spanish.
The English survey received 591 responses. Of those who favor additional school funding, 60.74% want increased salaries, 30% want more career and technical education offerings and 27% want more technology purchases. Of those who favor increased funding on the Spanish survey, 57% desire increased compensation, 28% want increased means to monitor student safety and 28% want more textbooks and instructional supplies.
Of those who favor decreased funding, the top two desires on both the English and Spanish survey was maintaining employee compensation and providing step salary increases. Coming in third on the English survey was maintenance while maintaining class size rounded off the Spanish survey.
T.A.B. Time’ for schools budget
The Culpeper County School Board invites the public to share concerns or ideas regarding the upcoming fiscal year’s budget during a Talk About Budget (T.A.B.) Time event 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the County Administration Office, 302 N. Main St.