During a business luncheon Wednesday, Mayor Satyendra Huja proposed that the Schools and City split the $262,463 difference. If adopted by Council, the move would leave the School Board with a $131,231 gap.
Due to new revenue projected from the state, City Manager Maurice Jones said, local government could give the schools half of what the division is requesting and still produce a balanced local government budget.
But City Councilor Kristin Szakos would like to take a different path to fully close the funding gap.
“Another option is that we get to [$131,231] without one-time money, and fill the rest with one-time money since we did have the Blue Ribbon Commission looking for longer-term solutions,” Szakos said.
City Councilor Dede Smith said she was hesitant to fully fund the gap when City staff are receiving smaller raises than school teachers, under the two proposed budgets.
The Schools budget suggests a 1.5 percent pay increase for teachers, in addition to the incremental step up in pay they receive for each year of service, for a total of approximately $1 million.
The step plus the 1.5 percent equals about three percent for most teachers, Schools Finance Director Ed Gillaspie said. Jones’ budget includes a two percent raise for City staff.
School Board member Jennifer McKeever said the School Board will determine final adjustments to the division’s budget once City Council finalizes a revenue figure.
The Charlottesville City School Board adopted a funding request of $73,213,082—about a four percent jump from last years’ overall budget.
The Board hopes that $45,830,289 million of that total will come from City Council, which represents about a $1.7 million increase from last year’s ask.
The funding request proposes a net increase of 5.44 new full-time employees.
About one percent of the budget—approximately $500,000—is for new initiatives.
Charlottesville’s schools receive about one-third of the City’s General Fund, which, in the last 7 years, has netted the division approximately $40 million from the City annually. Including state and federal funds, the school’s fiscal year 2013 budget was about $70 million.
But $3.5 million in federal cuts to City schools over the last 4 years has left the division to ask City Council for funds to cover the budget shortfalls.
In order to balance the operating budget for fiscal year 2013, the City gave the schools $1.8 million in one-time money from the General Fund, and the schools used $1.49 million in capital improvement money.
For fiscal year 2014, the City gave the schools $2.63 million to balance the division’s operating budget.
City Council plans to continue discussion about the school division’s funding gap at the March 27 budget work session.
The Council hopes to adopt a final budget on April 11.