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Teacher Layoffs Averted

The Halifax County School Board accepted its $57,693,025 budget for 2010-2011 that calls for no teacher layoffs. The motion passed on a 6-2 vote during the board’s budget work session Thursday night with board members Joe Gasperini and Kimberly Farson casting the dissenting votes. Seven minutes into the work session, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters, exiting the executive session at 7:21 p.m.

The proposed budget contains reductions in non-personnel areas amounting to $1,508,173 in addition to the elimination of 32 jobs totaling $1,465,640.

“This has been done through attrition without any employee being ‘laid off,’ without eliminating any program currently offered and without reducing anyone’s salary,” said Superintendent Paul Stapleton.

The total state funding for Halifax County Public Schools for next year is $34,757,868, which represents a reduction of $3,323,030 from the current level of state funding.

With a reduction in the amount the school system must pay to the Virginia Retirement System of $2,340,491, the school system was left with a net reduction in funding of $2,973,814. That amount will be handled by the reductions in non-personnel areas and the elimination of the 32 positions.

“The elimination of positions from all areas including administration, food service and school faculties represent jobs lost in our community,” Stapleton said.

The final state funding includes no money for the local school system from lottery funds, but it includes $284,000 for technology, and $1,487,093 in funding from the composite index.

“We won’t be hurt by reversion,” said Bill Covington, Halifax County Public Schools chief financial officer.

The Virginia Retirement System is looking at reducing benefits, but school officials were quick to say the changes in benefits will affect only those employees hired after July 1 of this year.

The total amount of reduction in state funding represents a reduction of 8.43 percent from the current budget.

“It must be remembered, however, that balancing a budget which reflects an 8.43 percent reduction in a single year is not done without a certain degree of negative impact,” Stapleton explained. “The non-personnel reductions cannot be perceived as being permanently eliminated. They will have to be addressed in future budgets.

Revenue for the 2010-2011 school budget is as follows: State Funds--$34,757,868; Federal Funds--$1,824,157; County Funds (level funding from the board of supervisors)--$13,256,000; Other Funds--$1,405,000; School Food Service Fund--$2,850,000; State/Federal Grants--$3,600,000; TOTAL--$57,693,025
Disbursements for the 2010-2011 school budget is as follows: Instruction--$39,069,998; Administration, Attendance and Health--$1,938,940;

Transportation--$3,878,684; Operation and Maintenance Services--$6,172,604; School Food Service--$2,980,408; Debt Service and Fund Transfer--$52,392;

State/Federal Grants--$3,600,000; TOTAL--$57,693,025

The school board is expected to formally approve the 2010-2011 budget at a special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the public meeting room of the Mary Bethune Complex.