NORFOLK-- The Superintendent of schools presented his proposed operating budget for the 2013-2014 school year Wednesday night.
Dr. Samuel King presented to the School Board a proposed budget of $300 million, which is nearly $5.3 million, or 1.7 percent, less than the current budget.
According to a news release, the reduction reflected the fact that a one-time permission from the General Assembly to carry forward funding from the prior fiscal year will not be available again to local school divisions.
The proposed budget provides support for a number of initiatives:
- The purchase of new, interactive instructional software designed to improve student literacy and writing ($1 million)
- Increased funding for Advanced Placement testing for students ($40,000)
- Funding for “safety nets” to assist students who are most challenged in terms of meeting curriculum standards ($800,000)
- Additional funding for alternative education programs ($170,000)
- A 2 percent salary increase for all staff members ($4.2 million)
- Absorbing a portion of the expected increase in health insurance premiums for employees ($2.4 million)
The School Board also on Wednesday approved a retirement incentive for employees who were eligible for a full-service retirement as of Jan. 31st, 2013. It affects employees with 30 years or more of Virginia Retirement System-qualified service and who are at least 50 years old, or employees who are at least 65 years of age and have at least five years of qualified service.
Employees who take the retirement incentive will receive $8,000, which they can receive as a lump sum, or apply toward the purchase of retirement healthcare benefits. Employees must indicate their intent to retire by April 1, 2013.
The proposed budget calls for eliminating 108 staff positions, which are planned to be reduced entirely through attrition. This includes 38 positions, valued at $2.2 million, at the Central Office.
There will be three public sessions on the budget so residents can give their opinions.
The first is Thursday, February 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch Library, 111 W. Ocean View Avenue. On Tuesday, March 5, the School Board and Administration will host a public forum at 7:00 p.m. at Crossroads School, 8021 Old Ocean View Road.
Questions, comments and suggestions can be submitted via the Norfolk School Division's Website.
The School Board will review the Superintendent's recommendations, and then approve an operating budget to send to the City Council by April 1, 2013. The City Council will approve a final budget for the school division.