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Extra state funds more like drop in bucket for schools

The long-awaited approval of the state budget brought an additional $277,000 to Halifax County Public Schools, Chief Financial Officer Bill Covington said this week.

However, due to increases in payments to the Virginia Retirement System and hiked group life insurance premiums paid by school system, net gain for the budget only amount to about $65,000, Covington said.

“We certainly welcome it, although it’s not going to make a big difference. We’ll give the board members the new amounts and let them react,” said Covington.

The chief financial officer said he expects the additional funding could likely be used to fund employees’ health insurance premiums, purchasing a school bus, on textbooks or a variety of places that could benefit the school system.

“The final decision is up to the school board,” added Covington.

But the $65,000 extra in state funding will not be enough to offset many reductions that had to be made in the county school budget including the elimination of LAN technology managers, he added.

“Over a million dollars was saved in the budget by those who retired and those who reduced their contracts, but there are classified positions approved for termination,” Covington said referring to the 13 jobs to be eliminated.

Several other positions facing possible elimination were saved by the large number of retirements and those positions that reduced their contracts, Covington noted.