Franklin schools asking $350K from city

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

During its work session with Franklin City Council on Monday night, the Franklin City Public Schools Division showed the details of its proposed budget of $17,199,176 for Fiscal Year 2017-2018, which is a 4.97 percent or $813,910 increase from FY 2016-2017’s $16,385,266. Within that presentation is the request of $350,000 from the City to make it possible.

It’s an amount that Mayor Frank Rabil said near meeting’s end, “We don’t have it,” and recommended the school system look again at its proposal.

In between, interim finance director Sheila Minor went over the budget with both council and school board members starting with the projection on Dec. 31 that expenditures to date indicated an over budget trend:

• $530,000 over expenditure budget

• $400,000 unanticipated revenue to offset the Average Daily Membership. Attendance numbers are how the state helps to fund schools.

Kelvin Edwards Sr., interim superintendent, noted that FCPS has been losing 30 to 50 students annually, and that homeschooling is one component. The ADM is now at 1,059 students (FY16-17); in FY10-11 it was at 1,184.

Edwards later added that the division is looking for ways to attract more students.

Rabil asked about state reimbursement per student, and was told the amount was about $7,000 each.

For the proposed budget, though, the school system seemed to feel confident that ADM number could be at 1,060.

Upcoming budget issues for FY17-18 include:

• Current and prior year deficits. The current year estimated at $125,000 as of Dec. 31last year.

• Virginia Retirement System rate increase of 2 percent, going from 14.66 percent to 16.32 percent.

• Health insurance premiums increasing 18.9 percent. Claims cost increased 40 percent from 2015 to 2016.

• Dual enrollment. FY17 reimbursements: 100 percent FCPS staff; 72 percent PDCCC staff; FY18 reimbursements: 100 percent FCPS staff

• What’s new is a 2 percent raise in FY17-18 included in the conference budget. That raise would be funded for Feb. 18, 2018, and for Standards of Quality positions only. The cost of the raise on Feb. 1, 2018, would be $100,215, with state funding at $39,256 or 39.17 percent. The difference from cuts and city funding or other sources at $60,959.

But to accept the state’s share, FCPS must certify a 2 percent raise has been provided. If not, FCPS would fall further behind the salary scales of other divisions.

In the FY17-18 proposed budget, the starting point is the governor’s budget plus 1.5 percent bonus, and the shortfall at ($963,000.

Changes to proposed budget:

• One new position – AVID instructor FHS at $58,000.

• Eliminate three positions at $210,000.

• Reduce one month of contract for selected positions (specialists, coaches, info tech specialists) at $69,600.

• Charge indirect costs to cafeteria fund (salaries are an example of direct costs; billing is an example of indirect costs) at $16,000.

• Savings from 2 percent delayed to February at $44,800.

• Charge of dual enrollment a t$17,100. FCPS is actively seeking scholarships on case-by-case basis.

• Eliminate local-funded summer school at SPM, JPK at $92,600. Title 1 funded reading and math academy would be only for grades 3-8

• Health Insurance plan changes at $76,500. This includes offering the option of a High Deductible Health Plan with health savings account. New hires would be required to use HDHP.

Councilman Benny Burgess said he thinks that could scare away new hires, and suggested giving them an option.

The HDHP would disallow spouses with coverage through their own employer/military/retirement.

• Increase AMD projection at $99,400.

• Request additional funding from city at $350,000.

• Other miscellaneous reductions/revenue at $45,300.

The grand total deficit reduction at $963,000

The mayor then expressed concern about giving the raise only to have it eaten by health insurance costs.

Minor said the $350K would fund superintendent’s proposal. If the city can’t or won’t provide the money, “We’d have to make further cuts.”

The final school board work session is scheduled for Thursday, April 6, at 6 p.m.; special called meeting to adopt school budget on Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m.; city council takes action on school budget on Monday, May 22, at 7 p.m.