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School staff adjustments to save nearly $1.1M if approved

Results of potential budget savings from salary adjustments to school staff have increased to nearly $1.1 million after two school officials traveled to county schools over the last two weeks informing selected school system employees about proposed changes to their salaries.

Originally, Halifax County School officials had said the salary adjustments would amount to $639,073.

Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon told finance committee members Monday morning a “vast majority of the money” is going to be from staff cuts. 

School board members voted earlier this month to send Finance Director Jay Camp and Administration Executive Director Valdivia Marshall into the schools to talk with affected personnel March 12-22. 

These employees were selected based on inconsistencies in their salaries, Herndon said.

The superintendent said Monday morning that the “biggie” to be discussed at Monday night’s board meeting would be the potential staff positional adjustments.

“A lot of hard decisions are coming up. And whenever you have almost $1.082 million in staff cuts…it’s painful is what it is basically,” Herndon concluded. 

Marshall and Camp were expected to bring their recommendations for employees’ salary adjustments to the full school board for final approval Monday evening.

Administrative staff and finance committee members attending the Monday morning meeting included ED-7 trustee R. K. “Dick” Stoneman and ED-5 school board member Dr. Roger Long, Secondary Education Director Frosty Owens, Donna Henderson of the finance department, Operations and Maintenance Director Larry Roller, Transportation Director Dave Guill, Elementary Education Director Linda Owen, Camp and Marshall.

During the Monday morning meeting, Herndon explained the projected $57 million school budget for 2013-14 indicates a deficit of $638,326, with expenses totaling $57,841,956 and revenues totaling $57,203,630.

The deficit of $638,326 includes a state funding shortage of $461,121 and a required two percent local match to the governor’s SOQ raise totaling $177,205.

Administration and finance committee members said Monday morning they continue to consider cutting the following items from the budget:

• One resource officer - $45,000, that has been moved back on the Halifax Sheriff’s budget;

• Security equipment - $100,000, moved to Capital Improvement budget;

• Meals Plus program change over to Infinite Campus - $7,500;

• Professional Development Software - $16,000;

• Restructure instructional coach positions with three SOQ technology resource positions - $180,000;

• SubFinder software/maintenance - $13,000;

• Governor’s School - $65,000;

• Autism specialist divisionwide - $50,000;

• Tuition reimbursement - $77,945;

• Equipment allocation reduced by 50 percent - from $110,000 to $55,000;

• School-level budget reduction by 50 percent - $232,000; 

• Cortez purchasing agent - $8,000; and

• Potential staff position adjustments - $1,081,699.

Herndon said Governor’s School would be reconsidered again next year during the budget process.

“I really hope we can reconsider next year particularly with some of the additional opportunities given students through some of the programs that are opening up with SVCC,” said Herndon.

Although it has not been voted on by the board of supervisors, last week members of the finance committee met and agreed to recommend the full board increase the real estate tax rate by two cents from 45 cents to 47 cents when it sets the real estate tax rate April 1.

A portion of that increase, $240,000, will be earmarked for local school needs.

In all finance members plan to suggest supervisors contribute a total of $600,000 above current year funding to the county school budget making the county’s contribution $13,506,000 to schools in the coming year.

Earlier staff had recommended total county funding of $13,267,529 compared to the school board’s original request for $16,630,336.