School officials revise budget amid cuts

By: Adrienne Wallace | Twitter: @PGJournal
Posted: May 21, 2020 | 2:30 p.m.

Teacher contracts go out at current-year salary

PRINCE GEORGE –The Prince George School Board is already addressing what is believed to be shortcomings from what was planned in the FY2021 budget.

Because of changes from the state and possible cuts from the local government lost due to COVID-19 dropping sales tax, Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff dropped the proposed budget from $74,028,451 to $71,714,978, a reduction of $2.3 million.

Those cuts include the previously planned salary increases. Staff had earlier presented an overall budget with a three percent salary increase for all staff at an estimated $1,541,953.

Administrators also proposed an additional two percent for teacher scale coming in at $712,822. The total cost of previously planned salary increases added up to $2,254,775.

“Currently, Governor Northam has suspended all funds related to salary increases until more is known about how the pandemic will affect the economy and state revenues,” Pennycuff explained. “The Governor is likely to request a budget reforecast this summer to determine if a special session is needed to adjust spending priorities based on the updated economic outlook.”

Due to the loss of $2,214,083 in anticipated revenue in the Regular Operating Fund, no salary increases can be planned at this time for FY21.

“The school division would like to ask that the School Board allow us to revisit this in the fall if revenues come in better than currently anticipated. As such, we request approval to issue contracts for FY21 using the current FY20 salaries,” she noted.

The Board of Supervisors held a budget public hearing last week. As of late last month, the county estimated $1.1 million in revenue reductions due to COVID-19 specifically. Estimated to climb by nearly $2 million during County Administrator Percy Ashcraft’s February presentation, real property revenue is now expected to fall by roughly $350,000 in the upcoming year.

Due to the expected impacts from COVID-19 on MOU-tied revenue streams, the county’s transfer to schools will fall by $351,033 to $16.6 million in FY2021. That is down from the proposed $16.9 million local transfer in February, which was up $222,532 over the current fiscal year.

When compared to FY2020, the proposed $16.6 million in local funding is $6,906 less than what PGCPS received in the now-current fiscal year.

Finance Director Monique Barnes said FY20-21 revenues have been reduced by at least $800,000 already. However, she suggested CARES Act monies can be used for a variety of purposes with $500,000 of funding.

“Local contribution has also been reduced. Total amount of cuts to the budget is over $2 million,” Barnes noted. She suggested the district revisit salary increases in the fall after the state looks at their budget again, and because the total cost of salary increases added up to more than $2 million, contracts have been written at the same salary as last year.

The School Board voted to approve handling the contracts in this manner.

Prince George County Public Schools will hold a work session to make any necessary adjustments on Thursday, May 21.

Copyright 2020 Womack Publishing 

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