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School board members to get first look at governor’s budget proposal

Halifax County School Board members and Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon will hold their first budget work session today at 5 p.m. in the school board conference room at the Mary Bethune office complex.

Board members will get their first look at Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposed 2013-2014 budget.

McDonnell unveiled his proposed budget on Dec. 19 announcing the budget provides $438 million in total new state funding for public education for the next biennium.

Last month, McDonnell announced proposals to advance professional development and continue Virginia’s focus on excellent teaching, calling for a 2 percent pay increase for all teachers – the first in five years; incentives for teachers in STEM-H subjects, strategic compensation grants for teachers and other measures to recruit, retain and reward excellent teachers.

Director of Finance Jay Camp told board members at the Dec. 19 public hearing the local composite index for the upcoming budget year is 29.43 compared to last year’s index of 27.48 which means county schools will be receiving less funding from the state in the upcoming budget.

The state budget document requires reform initiatives for K-12 education that focus on performance by requiring the Department of Education to include in the annual school performance report card for school divisions the percentage of each division’s annual operating budget allocated to instruction, with a goal of increasing classroom spending to 65 percent of the budget.