Greene Schools Undercut Budget, Must Return the Difference
GREENE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -
Greene County's school system is handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars to the county. It under spent during the 2013 fiscal year, but it wasn't because the schools didn't need the money.
Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh says schools needed money for everything from new computers to a leaky roof - but she says financial responsibility needed to come first.
"Every day you have to make decisions on what to purchase and what not to purchase," she said.
In order to stay on budget, Greene County Public Schools went without additional books for classrooms, teacher professional development training and employee raises. Whitmarsh says there wasn't much room for technology purchases either; schools are using computers that are 5, 7 and even 10 years old.
A lot of maintenance projects are also being put on the back burner. One of the schools has a leaky roof that's being patched up rather than replaced.
"We've been able to do a fix for a smaller amount of money but down the road is going to have to be replaced," Whitmarsh said.
The substitute teacher budget was reduced. Instead of having substitutes fill in, regular full-time teachers are forgoing planning time to substitute.
Whitmarsh says the district had planned for a larger funding shortfall in federal and state funding. She says it also saved $130,000 in utilities by undergoing energy performance contracting. The anticipated leftover funds - $350,000 - will be passed on to the county.
Supervisor Jim Frydl says the county is happy with the outcome.
"The schools are serious about the taxpayers' money. They were very careful about how they spent the money to make sure they stayed within the budget," Frydl said.
Whitmarsh says enrollment numbers also factor into the budget. Enrollment, which was supposed to grow 3 percent, instead grew under 1 percent.
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