Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent, presented Shenandoah County Public Schools’ proposed budget for 2014-15 to the School Board prior to their February 20 meeting. His request of $61,873,208 for the Operating Budget is an increase of $5,462,634 over last year’s Operating Budget. Included within this recommended budget are funds to maintain the current operations of the school system as well as funds to better support the Goals of the School Board.
While the Shenandoah County Public School division receives revenue from the federal government, the State of Virginia, the County of Shenandoah, and miscellaneous other sources, most of the funds to support school expenditures come from the State and from the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors. While Dr. Raley projects for SCPS an increase of $76,688 in federal funds, a $1,429,097 increase in state aid, and an increase of $54,314 from other sources, local funds would also need to increase in order to balance the proposed budget.
Development of the budget is a long and arduous process involving multiple stakeholders and multiple entities. However, two brief explanations summarize critical information which Dr. Raley emphasized.
|| Dr. Raley began his presentation with the announcement that “foremost” in the thoughts of those planning the budget were these words of John Dewey:
||What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children.
|The Beliefs of the Shenandoah County Public Schools mirror the sentiment expressed in Dewey’s quote. . .
Great communities come from great schools; therefore, we believe.....
- All decisions are based on the best interest of our students.
- Meaningful learning occurs only in the presence of meaningful relationships.
- Measures of success are unique and individualized for each learner.
- Continuous growth and improvement is expected for everyone.
- Problem solving is an essential skill.
- An atmosphere of respect must exist.
- The education of our children is an investment of time, labor, and resources in our future.
|| The proposed budget is a “needs based” budget itemizing requests that will bridge “gaps” that exist between where the school system is today and where the system aspires to be. . .
|| The “where the system aspires to be” may best be defined by the Goals of the Shenandoah County School Board and by the Mission of the Shenandoah County Public Schools: Preparing students for a future of life-long learning.
The proposed budget represents the combined efforts of a large number of individuals and teams including community members, parents, teachers, staff, school and division administrators, Action Planning Teams (who are developing strategies to implement the division’s Comprehensive Plan), and the Superintendent’s Leadership Team.
“The budget is a needs-based budget that is focused and aligned with the beliefs and goals of our community,” said Dr. Raley. The four essential Goals of the School Board were used as a framework for the funding request
. The School Board’s Goals are:
- Student Opportunity and Achievement
Design a research-based framework that articulates the knowledge, skills and opportunities we value for students to become members of a global community in a global economy
- Effective Communication
Model transparency in external and internal communications to ensure understanding of the excellence of SCPS and the purpose, rationale, and success of new and existing initiatives.
- Staff Excellence
Attract, retain, and develop high quality teaching and support staff to ensure staff pride and commitment, leadership, and organizational excellence|
- System Efficiencies
Strategically align resources to support the mission, vision, and goals to achieve efficiencies of operations and success.
Each budget request supports a specific School Board Goal and helps to alleviate gaps identified within that Goal. As stated earlier, these gaps exist between the status quo and the aspirations of the school system. Bridges to close gaps are listed below:
*Three teachers for students who are Limited English Proficient
New Personnel and Contract Extensions
*Three elementary teachers
*One elementary teacher contingent upon enrollment
*Three Instructional Technology Resource Coaches
*Counselor to be shared between Alternative Education and Signal Knob Middle School
*Spanish language teacher to be shared between Signal Knob Middle and Strasburg High
*English/Language Arts Content Specialist
*Technician to address growth in technology devices
*Convert 10 month contract for Data Analysis/Testing Coordinator to 12 months
*Convert 10 month contract for Pre-SchoolCoordinator to 12 months
*Increase Internet bandwidth
*Upgrade/purchase network equipment
*Purchase software for account management
Create classes, programs, frameworks
*Develop instructional framework for SCPS
*Enhance post-graduate program for Special Education students
*Create STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Curriculum
*Revise teacher salary scale to be competitive with other school divisions – salaries at the median plus 2% of competitive school divisions
*Grant 5.4 % across the board increase for non teaching staff
*Pay mandated employer contribution to the Virginia Retirement System,the Long Term Disability Program, and the Retiree Health Care Credit Program
*Provide funds for anticipated increase in Health Insurance coverage
*Adjust inequities in non-teaching staff pay
*Increase math stipend for secondary math specialists
*Offer tuition reimbursement for teachers to earn credentials to teach Dual Enrollment courses
Restoration of Funding Cuts
*Restore funds for instructional resources to school budgets
*Restore basic maintenance funds to schools and establish preventative maintenance schedules
*Buy three minivans for transportation of Special Education students
*Increase payment for Regional Special Education Program tuition
Link to Message:
||Dr. Raley’s proposed budget message and his presentation from the February 20 School Board meeting are available on Shenandoah County Public School’s division web page: Use Ctrl + click to follow links.
Link to Slide presentation:
The School Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on Wednesday, February 26, at 7:00 PM in the County Board Room. The School Board will hold work sessions on the proposed budget on March 11 and March 20 with the final approval scheduled for March 27.