The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Friday, September 21, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
The Franklin County School Board began its budget discussions this week for 2013-14 with a list of concerns that already add up to $2.3 million.
Included in that list are possible federal budget cuts of 7.8 to 9.1 percent, triggered when the Congressional Supercommittee failed to agree on a federal deficit reduction plan, according to Lee Cheatham, director of finance for the school system.
"Sequestration is the automatic across-the-board cuts in federal spending that were triggered when Congress failed to produce a budget plan in 2012 identifying budgetary savings of at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years," Cheatham told board members at a workshop this week.
The cuts in the Franklin County school division could range from $320,794 to $374,260, Cheatham said.
However, if these cuts are also applied to the federal school lunch and breakfast revenues, then an additional loss of $168,398 to $196,464 would occur.
"Cuts of this magnitude will not likely be offset by local funds, so these federal programs will have to be reduced," Cheatham told board members.
Other items on the list of concerns for the upcoming budget include $1.4 million in carryover funds that were used to maintain 25 positions this year.
"The school board and administration pledged to the board of supervisors (when the carryover funds were approved) that either an equivalent dollar amount of cuts would be made to the proposed 2013-14 school budget or additional new revenues would be identified to take care of this," Cheatham said.
Other concerns for the next school budget include the phase-in of another 1 percent for employees' VRS retirement benefit ($149,289); funds for additional staffing needs ($157,902); and an estimated increase in employee health insurance premiums ($466,000).
The budget update presented by Cheatham was requested by the school board and Dr. Mark Church, the interim superintendent. Budget discussions normally do not begin until late November. However, the board and Church want to begin the process earlier this year to gather more public input and provide more transparency in the budgeting process.