Mathews school board members make the case for an increase in local funding

by Charlie Koenig - Posted on Mar 09, 2011 - 05:06 PM

Photo: A large crowd turned out last week at the Mathews High School media center when the Mathews County School Board held a work session on the 2011-2012 budget. Photo by Charlie Koenig.

A large crowd turned out last week at the Mathews High School media center when the Mathews County School Board held a work session on the 2011-2012 budget. Photo by Charlie Koenig.

About 70 people, a mix of school employees and other concerned residents, filled the Mathews High School media center last Thursday night at what was probably the largest attendance ever for a Mathews school budget work session.

As the audience listened quietly, Mathews County School Board members laid out their case for an increase of about $340,000 in local funds over the current operating budget—an increase made necessary by a cut of over a half-million dollars in state funding.

Only one relatively minor adjustment was made to the $12.22 million draft budget that was initially presented to the school board at its February meeting—coming up with about $12,000 to $18,000 to cover the cost of Advanced Placement testing, following a recent attorney general’s opinion that prohibits local school boards from imposing a mandatory fee on students for this service.

While state revenue may have fluctuated from Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposal, the changes were essentially revenue-neutral for Mathews. The county, Superintendent of Schools David J. Holleran said, will receive another $150,000 to $180,000 in state funds, but will also have to pay back the equivalent in additional Virginia Retirement Service fees. "It basically amounts to a wash," Holleran said.