Warren County School Board Approves Amended Operating Budget | Every day

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The Warren County School Board on Wednesday approved its revised operating budget of $69,892,943 for fiscal year 2023 and authorized Superintendent Chris Ballenger to ask the Board of Supervisors to allocate additional funds to the school transportation fund and to the capital improvement fund.

The modified operating fund includes:

• Education: $53,218,702

• Administration, presence and health: $3,124,965

• School transportation: $3,388,545

• Operation and maintenance: $7,178,511

• Debt service: $658,247

• Technology: $2,323,973

Ballenger will ask the Board of Supervisors to allocate $409,913 of the fiscal year 2021 surplus to the school transportation fund held by the county and $1 million to the school capital improvement fund held by the division. He will also request that the remaining $267,200 of the surplus be retained by the county, as previously agreed.

The division’s original fiscal year 2023 operating fund budget of $64,178,402 was approved by the Board of Supervisors at its June 28 meeting, according to school board meeting documents.

An additional appropriation of $5,714,541 was then approved at the August 16 Supervisors meeting. This amount has been assigned by supervisors to the instruction category with the request that the county be advised of amounts that are to be transferred to other categories. The School Board plans to transfer this money to fund the following initiatives:

• Full funding of the 5% salary increase for staff

• A $1,000 bonus for staff in December

• Funding for all extracurricular and sporting events

• Provide the remaining unretained supplements

• Reinstatement of three days off

• Fill all teaching vacancies

“We will review funding for these positions as funding becomes available,” Ballenger said.

Attending the meeting were board members Andrea Lo, Kristen Pence and Ralph Rinaldi. Board members Mélanie Salins and Antoinette Funk were absent.

The board also:

• Awarded a $38,057 contract to ThunderCat Technology to create digital maps for the school division. The contract enables the school division to comply with Virginia House Bill 741, which requires local school boards to create detailed and accurate floor plans for each of their public school buildings. The cards will be funded by the $6.5 million the Department of Criminal Justice Services has made available to public schools for this purpose. Each school receives $3,500 through the Digital Mapping Programs for VA K-12 Schools.

• Approved a $5,000 stipend for a teaching assistant with an active CNA certification and authorized Ballenger to request an additional $20,000 credit from supervisors. The CNA stipend will allow the school division to serve students with a variety of academic, behavioral and medical needs that exceed or stretch the capacity of school nurses and classroom staff, such as all-day support. The stipend will be covered by state reimbursements through Medicaid billing and the Intensive Student Support Needs application.

• Appointed members to the Division Gifted Advisory Committee for the 2022-2023 school year.

• Approved a teaching assistant position for the Pathways and Connections classroom at Skyline High School and authorized the superintendent to seek an additional appropriation of $149,133 from supervisors. A federal grant will cover approximately $33,133 to fund the position and approximately $75,000 will go to contracted services and $41,000 to educational supplies.

• Authorized Ballenger to sign a one-year contract with McGriff Insurance Services effective October 1 for benefits and insurance services. McGriff has been the division’s benefits management department for several years, but the division will transition to Aetna’s Anthem, The Local Choice, for employee insurance coverage. McGriff’s services were not included outside of Anthem, The Local Choice contract.

The board will attend a joint budget committee with the Board of Supervisors at 4 p.m. Monday at the County Government Center located at 220 N. Commerce Ave. at Front Royal.

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