City Council learns details on FCPS budget

Published 5:46 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

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Franklin City Public Schools Director of Finance Tracy Morrison presented a summary of the school division’s proposed $19.2 million fiscal year 2025 budget Thursday, April 11, during a joint meeting of the Franklin City Council and Franklin City School Board.

The meeting was held in the library of S.P. Morton Elementary School.

The local city appropriation requested by FCPS in the proposed budget is $4,913,092.

“This budget was presented at the Feb. 15 school board meeting, and we also had a public hearing on the budget at that meeting, and the school board voted to send this budget to City Council for consideration,” Morrison said. “At that time, we only had available the governor’s initial budget that was announced in January, so the state funding is lower than what we had anticipated from the year before.”

She noted that there are additional needs in the school district that the current state funding will not cover.

“The (state) House and Senate compromise budget that was announced in March did provide significant increases for K-12 funding,” she said. “However, the governor still has the ability to modify or accept that budget. So when we do get the final budget, we will present to the school board an amended budget based on those amended state budget figures.”

The proposed FY 2025 FCPS budget is composed of three funds, each of which has a different bank account, Morrison stated.

The largest fund is the General Fund, which the proposed budget balances at $18,249,348.

In Morrison’s presentation, state funding was listed at $11,343,966.

She reiterated that this amount is what was in the governor’s initial budget released in January.

Federal funding was listed at $1,922,290.

“The $1.9 million is the anticipated amount that we will have from fiscal year 2025 new grants, notwithstanding the amount that we have from fiscal year 2024 that we will be continuing to spend down,” she said.

Under the “Local – City Restricted” category, nothing was listed; $70,000 was listed for “Local – Other”; and $4,913,092 was listed for “Local – City Appropriation.”

“The local appropriation that we have requested is $4.9 million, and when we request the amended budget, we will break this down into two line items,” Morrison said. “The first line item will be local appropriation for operations of $4.3 million, which is what we’re accustomed to receiving based on recent trends, and city appropriation capital projects of $582,000 so that those funds can be tracked and monitored separately.”

In showing how the school division intends to expend the funds it receives, Morrison’s presentation broke down most items by listing them in two parts — one is salaries and benefits and the other is “other,” which she noted includes “materials, supplies, travel — anything other than salaries and benefits.”

In the General Fund, the proposed budget stated that $9,492,070 will go toward “Instruction — salaries and benefits.”

The other expense items listed, sorted from largest to smallest, were as follows:

  • Administration — salaries and benefits: $1,261,177; 
  • Operations and maintenance — salaries and benefits: $1,103,419; 
  • Operations and maintenance — other: $1,093,313; 
  • Instruction — other: $807,879; 
  • Technology — other: $549,566; 
  • Technology — salaries and benefits: $490,299;
  • Administration — other: $455,465; 
  • Transportation — salaries and benefits: $419,785; 
  • Building Improvements — other: $399,621; and 
  • Transportation — other: $254,464.

Nothing was listed under “Contingency Reserve,” and the only other item listed for expenses was the federal amount of $1,922,290.

The Nutrition Fund in the proposed budget totals $786,023. Of that amount, $702,147 is federal funding, $74,307 comes from “Local — Other,” and $9,569 is state funding.

“Our state funding is from the Virginia Department of Education State Calculator Tool, and the federal and local funding is based on estimated number of meals served,” Morrison said.

The listed expense items were “Nutrition — salaries and benefits” at $452,538 and “Nutrition — Other” at $333,485.

The Textbook Fund in the proposed budget totals $151,395. Of that amount, $107,722 is state funding, $43,658 comes from “Local,” and $15 comes from “Local — Other.”

The listed expense item was “Instruction — Other” at $151,395.

“Adding the three funds together, that brings our total ask up to $19,186,766,” Morrison said. “So the budget is a significant investment, but it’s necessary to ensure the success for our students, to ensure the high quality education that they receive and to ensure that we can successfully implement Accelerate Franklin 2028 Strategic Plan.”
Ward 4 Councilman Dr. Linwood Johnson reemphasized Morrison’s point about Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin still needing to weigh in on the budget.

Johnson noted that in the current situation, “you can only speculate what the budget is until you get the true scenario of what’s going on. And that’s not only with the city of Franklin, that’s with all school systems, basically. And I think it’s something that we need to understand as a school system and as a City Council that until that state budget is finalized, anything can happen.”

Echoing Johnson’s point, Morrison acknowledged that the state House and Senate versions of the budget did give the school division significant additional funding, “but we don’t want to rely on that estimate just yet until we hear in the next couple of weeks what the governor’s going to do with his budget.”

Ward 1 School Board Member and Board Chair Robert Holt said, “I think the date for the General Assembly to meet is the 17th, and this could be resolved on that day, but there’s a likelihood that it won’t be.”

Johnson agreed.

Moments later, Holt added, “We might go into July. Keep our fingers crossed.”

Morrison said, “Last year we found out on June 8, but not to say that we’ll find out this year that soon.”

FCPS Superintendent Dr. Carlton Carter alluded to how funding is connected to a school division’s average daily membership when he said, “We do our budget on a 945 ADM, and so actually our student enrollment is above that, so we want to always play it conservative so we make sure that we won’t overspend our budget.”

In the last part of Morrison’s presentation, she noted that she and division staff sought to get a regional perspective by performing an analysis on state spending for the surrounding locality school districts.

“What we found is that only Suffolk City Public Schools spends less per student than Franklin City Public Schools, and these figures come from the final 2023 budget as well as the 2024, 2025 budgets that were issued in March based on the House and Senate compromise budgets, and they were taken directly from Virginia Department of Education State Calculator Tool,” she said.


  • Suffolk: $6,716
  • Franklin: $6,994
  • Isle of Wight: $7,060
  • Southampton: $7,712
  • Sussex: $8,160
  • Surry: $8,478


  • Suffolk: $6,956
  • Franklin: $7,232
  • Isle of Wight: $7,300
  • Southampton: $7,951
  • Sussex: $8,395
  • Surry: $8,735


  • Suffolk: $8,166
  • Franklin: $8,177
  • Isle of Wight: $8,321
  • Southampton: $8,714
  • Sussex: $9,626
  • Surry: $10,002

Interim Franklin City Manager Darlene Burcham asked if there is a similar comparison available of the local match that is associated with those numbers.

Morrison said, “Another factor to consider is that each locality has what Virginia Department of Education refers to as a composite index, and that composite index is based on the value of real property, the adjusted gross income and the taxable retail sales of each locality, and the composite index determines each locality’s ability to pay for the standards of quality required instruction. And Franklin City Public Schools has the lowest composite index of the localities listed here, which means that we would receive more state funds, but the resulting local aid requirement would be less.”

Ward 2 Councilman Ray Smith asked if the school board would not receive any more funding based on the increase in the real estate tax.

Morrison said, “We’ll only receive the local appropriation in terms of sales tax.”