by Madison White Franks
KILMARNOCK—The Lancaster school board is expected to take action Tuesday, March 14, on a proposed $16.3 million school budget for fiscal year 2017-18.
Presenting the $16,319,157 draft at the school board’s public hearing on March 2, budget and finance director Whitney Barrack said the budget is based on a projected average daily membership of 1,100.
She also said the budget reflects a projected decrease in state, federal, local and other funding.
The estimated expenditures include a 3% increase for teachers and staff, a Virginia Retirement System (VRS) increase of 1.66% and an increase in dual enrollment tuition.
The expenditures show an overall decrease of $282,442 from last year’s budget, said Barrack.
Only two people from the public attended the hearing, Les Spivey and Bill Warren of the Wiley Foundation.
Spivey shared his concern for the young people in the community.
“We need to figure out a way to get the kids to come out of the school knowing something,” he said.
“The methodology, not just in the county, in the state and maybe in the whole country, is that we get all the kids through school whether they know anything or not and I don’t think that is right. You should come out of school knowing how to have a life and not just follow in the footsteps of the ones before you,” said Spivey.
“I would love to see the schools come together and be in one place,” he said. “If you have to raise my taxes another penny to get enough money to do what you need to do, to get the kids to come out of school to be able to read and write, then I would do it,” he said.
“I am puzzled at how few people show up at any of the meetings and yet people get upset and put letters in the paper and complain about everything but they don’t come tell anyone. I don’t get it,” said Spivey.
“We feel exactly the way you do, and things are in place and things are improving drastically within the last year. I personally do not want a child coming out of school not reading and writing,” said board member Joan Gravatt.
“This is the first time in my experience since I have been paying attention to the schools that we actually have an administration that looked at why the kids were in the situation that they were in and then implemented the programs necessary to bring them up with their reading and writing skills. They are already doing it and coming right along, beyond what we may have expected,” said chairman Bob Westbrook.