County schools present leaner budget

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Southampton County Public Schools, facing a possible $1.86 million loss of state funding, plan to spend about 6.6 percent less during the 2009-10 school year.

Under a proposed budget unveiled this week, the school division would cut $1.8 million in operating expenses by freezing salaries, cutting 27 positions, including 19 teachers, eliminating the purchase of library books and special-needs vehicles, and putting the replacement of buses on hold.

County property owners would contribute about the same toward the schools’ operating budget as this year, but they will shoulder an additional $1.23 million in debt service to pay for the new Riverdale Elementary School. Debt service would increase from $1.77 million in this year’s budget to $2.99 million next year.

A public hearing on the proposed operating budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Wigwam cafeteria inside the Southampton High School Technical Career Center.

The school board is poised to request $25.76 million from the county’s Board of Supervisors for the operating portion of the schools’ 2009-10 budget. The request is $1.83 million less than this year’s operating budget of $27.59 million.

“Obviously, a significant impact is imposed upon Southampton County Public Schools as we continue to seek to provide a quality education for our students as they become productive citizens in an ever changing society,” division Superintendent Charles Turner said in a memo to school board members.

See Friday’s print edition of The Tidewater News for more on this story.