Roanoke County School Board approves budget for 2013-14 - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Roanoke County School Board approves budget for 2013-14

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The Roanoke County School Board approved its budget for the 2013-14 school year on Thursday night.

It includes:

  1. Keeping Ft. Lewis Elementary open (as we reported last week)
  2. No layoffs of full-time employees (some positions will be ended through retirements or resignations)
  3. No pay increases
  4. Paying for special education programs hit by federal sequester cuts
  5. Paying for health and dental insurance cost increases from reserves, instead of passing that cost on to employees
  6. Starting a custodial pilot program at Cave Spring Elementary & Middle Schools, as well as Hidden Valley High School
  7. Budgeting for school bus fuel by locking in diesel prices in advance
  8. Changing the student laptop program to a lease

The total amount of the budget is $133,799,052, and can be revised if necessary, depending on the money the Board of Supervisors decides to give the school system.

School Board members say they covered a projected budget deficit of $1.7 million. The lost money came from fewer state and federal dollars, as well as increased costs.

"While we're grateful that state funding cuts this year were smaller than in years past, we already are looking to the 2014-15 budget. We are anticipating additional increases in state retirement expenses and potentially more state funding cuts, so we must remain vigilant to control expenses," said Superintendent Dr. Lorraine Lange, in a news release.

The School Board said the state would not allow it to count last year's 3.75 percent raise and 5 percent Virginia Retirement System pay increase toward qualifying for the 2 percent state raise passed in the General Assembly's budget, despite having acted a year earlier than the state.  School leaders say the additional 2 percent raise would have cost $919,000 in county money, and would have caused additional budget cuts.