Board of Supervisors Adopts a Budget
The Stafford County Board of Supervisors adopted the county’s FY2019 budget at a meeting held at 2 P.M. today. This follows a work session the board held yesterday at 3 P.M. It’s disappointing the Board is holding meetings and making significant decisions about taxpayer dollars when few taxpayers and citizens can attend or even watch meetings. However, there was significant coverage by organizations such as the Stafford Education Association (SEA) to report on actions of the Board.
With the lack of local funding the School Board may be at risk of being able to increasing the number of teachers needed in order maintain a class size reduction initiative started three years ago. The class size reduction initiative has reduced class sizes in elementary schools capping the number of students in K-5 classrooms. Not having enough funding may result in class sizes growing again the elementary schools.
The Board of Supervisors adopted a budget that only provides the School Board with an additional $6.4 million with hold back of appropriations to ensure school employees receive the 2.5% salary increases. That will mean the School Board will have a roughly $4 million funding gap in their proposed budget for FY2019, with restrictions on when they will be able to receive full appropriations of their funding. They will have difficult decisions to make that could have a negative impact on children in classrooms all across Stafford County.
The $6.4 million increase will provide the school division with less than 40% of the total revenue growth the county is projected to experience in FY2019. Contrary to the presentation by the County Administrator regarding a five-year plan the Board of Supervisors declined his proposal to ensure at least 50% of new county revenue is dedicated to schools. Over the last several years the trend of school funding in Stafford County has been a decrease of total county revenue. With the trend continuing it is likely schools will fall well below 50% of the total county budget. Where is the money going? Social services has seen significant increases as well as the funding of contingency funds to ensure the county attains coveted AAA Bond ratings.