School board, city council discuss school budget

Published 6:52 pm Friday, March 29, 2019



The Franklin City Public School Board met with the City Council on Thursday to discuss the school budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year during their joint work session. Superintendent Tamara Sterling pointed out the challenges that the school division is facing.

“The state/basic funding for public schools is primarily based on student enrollment and the average daily membership,” said Sterling, “The enrollment trend for Franklin City Public Schools continues to slightly decline, which means less funding from the state.”

She pointed out that there is a growing shortage of qualified and desired candidates for employment in the public education field as noted at both the state and national level. Sterling also said that despite the decline in overall enrollment, the increased number of students in poverty, with disabilities and who are English Learners must be effectively and equitably addressed amidst diminishing resources.

The school board also presented to the city council the proposed operating fund, which totaled $13.3 million. The proposed operating fund covers the following:

• Instruction – $9,190,207.70; 69 percent

• Administration, health and attendance – $1,212,500.21; 9 percent

• Transportation – $539,753.00; 4 percent

• Enterprise – $25,000; 0 percent

• Maintenance and operation – $1,799,130.00; 13 percent

• Technology – $607,049.34; 5 percent

The funding for the schools totaled $16.7 million, which comes from the following:

• State and local funds – $6,765,579.55; 40 percent

• City funds – $4,987,395; 30 percent

• State sales tax – $1,600,666; 10 percent

• Federal funds grants -$2,426,303.67; 14 percent

• Cafeteria funds – $856,133.00; 5 percent

• Medicaid funds – $60,000; 0 percent

• Textbook funds – $94,941; 1 percent

In addition to the proposed school funding, the school board is proposing to cut or eliminate the following for the upcoming fiscal year:

• Reduction-In-Force (RIF) four teaching positions

• Eliminate one school level administrator

• Provide a 3 percent raise to only Standard of Quality instructional positions, which includes teachers, school counselors, librarians, instructional aide, principal and assistant principal

• Reduce after school remediation and for-credit summer school

• Reduce one central office position from full-time to part-time

• Elimination of proposed raises for other employees, which includes custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers and secretarial staff

• Reduce the number of educational and cultural field trips

• Reduce the number of Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies tutors

• Reduce the number of athletic programs offered

• Eliminate proposed athletic director position

• Reduce professional development opportunities for staff

Sterling also pointed out that the tuitions for Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs and the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School are increasing, and if the school division receives less level funding, it will have a negative impact on how the division offers two programs. SECEP provides a formal structure through which the participating school system can plan an operate programs for children with special needs. ARGS provides gifted and talented students a differentiated and rigorous education, cultivates a supportive environment that inspires unique artistic and technological visions, promotes cultural tolerance, nurtures community partnerships, and produces active, engaged, citizens. Health insurance benefits will also be impacted by the lack of level funding.

After the school board presented the proposed budget, Mayor Frank Rabil asked if the school board had a detailed budget.

“How do you manage your budget if you don’t have a detailed budget?” he asked.

Andrea Hall-Leonard, the co-chairperson for the school board, explained that the school board does have a detailed budget and that they will submit one if needed.

Councilman Greg McLemore expressed his support for funding the schools and agreed that a detailed list is needed.

“I am for school funding, but I’m against making any cuts. I will be your advocate, but we need to know how much money is being spent and where that money is being spent,” he said.