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Norton school board gets preliminary budget numbers

Mike Still • Mar 24, 2020 at 7:00 PM

NORTON — The Norton School Board will vote on its proposed 2020-21 budget April 20 after getting projected funding numbers.

Superintendent Gina Wohlford and Finance Director Jacquline Brooke presented the draft budget at Tuesday’s budget workshop, based on an estimated $6.145 million in state aid and $1.805 million in local funding.

Brooke told the board that firm numbers for federal funds have not been received, although $515,000 was listed in budget documents presented during the meeting.

The state budget bill awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature includes funding for a 2% teacher salary raise across the state’s school divisions. Brooke said she adjusted the division’s teacher salary scale to include a 3% raise for starting teachers with no experience and a 2% salary increase for each of the 31 steps in the scale.

Brooke said the budget also includes the state-mandated $2.25 increase to minimum-wage positions as well as adjustments to salary scales for cafeteria, custodian and instructional assistant scales. Overall, the budget includes a 9% increase in salary expenditures.

Brooke said the state aid level is based on a 775-student enrollment. While enrollment could reach 780 next year, she recommended basing the budget on 775.

While the division will see a 4.8% hike in health insurance costs, Brooke said that figure could be absorbed in the proposed budget.

The division’s debt service cost will drop in 2020-21 by $75,300 due to early payoff of a heating and cooling project, Brooke said, and the division is expected to see another $7,200 drop in its electric bills due to a rate cut from Old Dominion Power.

Textbook costs are expected to climb by about $83,000 in the proposed budget as the division replaces English and literature textbooks, Brooke said.

In the following regular meeting, the board approved 5-0 the adoption of the revised salary scales and health insurance plan with the 4.8% cost increase.

After a closed session for personnel matters, the board voted 5-0 to hire a new speech pathologist, custodian and substitute teacher. The board also voted to hire interim high school football coach Jacob Caudill to replace James Adams, who was fired in February.

Amanda Crabtree was also hired as a volunteer assistant high school girls tennis coach.

The school board will meet April 20 at 6 p.m. at the city hall chambers to vote on the budget for presentation to city council.

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