Albemarle County Supervisors Look at Ways to Handle Budget Shortfall

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Albemarle County supervisors are beginning to figure out how to handle a shortfall in funds for county schools.

The Albemarle County School Board is asking for an $8 million budget increase from last year in its 2019 fiscal year budget. The county's recommended 2019 fiscal year would give the school system all but $1.2 million of its $188 million budget request.

That $1.2 million funding gap is now looking like a $2.2 million gap, because the county could be getting less money from the state than initially expected.

The school board's current budget includes a 2 percent pay increase for teachers.

School board members say raises are needed to retain and recruit world-class teachers, which was the highest priority identified in the county's annual community budget survey.

Now, the school board says it needs the funds to save programs like academy transportation and world languages in middle schools.

"We do have some fund balance, which is some funding that we haven't expended, some of that will help,” says Kate Acuff, the school board chair. “I'm not sure we can cover the full gap. We may have to cut back on some of the other initiatives that we have in the budget, but I think we are pretty much committed as a school board to keep the teacher funding in there."

The school board has discussed the potential of increasing class sizes to make up some of the funding.

The board will hold another work session on Monday, March 5. The board is expected to adopt a final budget on April 17.

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