The Buchanan County School Board’s
proposed major budget increases for the coming year total almost
The board’s budget committee on Monday
outlined the major budget hikes, which include increases in
personnel salaries, fringe benefits, travel expenses, purchase
services, operation and maintenance and drug testing.
The largest allotment in the proposed
operational budget is the $1,290,866 being set aside for fringe
benefit increases. Counting on a 12 percent health insurance
premium increase, the committee is proposing almost $500,000 to
offset the cost. Additionally, a $791,000 increase will cover
group life insurance and Virginia Retirement System costs.
Personnel salaries would
increase by nearly $1,250,000 if the proposed budget is adopted,
with entry-level teachers earning $29,000. Educators with 27 years
of service in the school system would be eligible to earn $50,000.
The mileage rate for school system
personnel would also be raised under the proposed budget. The
current rate of .32 cents per mile would be increased to .425
cents, resulting in an increase of $33,509 for the year.
“I think we really need to do that,”
said Joyce Presley, Administrative Assistant for the School Board,
adding that it must have been difficult for personnel to afford
travel expenses during last summer’s gasoline price spike.
The new drug testing policy the
School Board may adopt soon is also included in the proposal.
“We’ve tentatively figured that to run around $32,500,” said Tommy
Justus, Division Superintendent. The drug policy committee
is currently scheduled to meet April 6 to review further revisions
to the proposed policy.
Purchase services, including
increased costs for special services and additional remedial
material for SOL tests, are included in the proposal to the tune
Pupil transportation costs will also
be increased by $82,482. Additionally, operation and maintenance
funding will increase by $45,000.
The School Board has no official word
on funding details from the state, as the Virginia General
Assembly has yet to adjourn. The assembly was originally scheduled
to adjourn March 11.
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