Gloucester County School Board members began their budget work for fiscal year 2014 in a meeting last Thursday at the T.C. Walker Education Center.
Gloucester schools superintendent Ben Kiser told the board he expects a $1.1 million operating budget shortfall for FY14 due to a drop in student enrollment and the end of funds available through the federal Jobs Act.
The decline in student numbers will mean $850,000 less in state funds and the school division will not have the $250,000 in Jobs Act money that supplemented the current division budget of $52.5 million.
Kiser said the division can make up the $1.1 million drop in funding through employee attrition, which will mean the loss of approximately 18 positions. The division has lost 116 positions since the 2004-2005 school year, with most of the jobs cut in recent years to meet the steady decline in operating funds.
In added costs for FY14, Kiser said the division will need about $500,000 to give a 2 percent raise to personnel funded under the state standards of quality. A 5 percent increase in employer health insurance costs will amount to about $227,000, he said, but Virginia Retirement System expenses should not change. Kiser said he will also be recommending $1.5 million in capital improvement projects, such as school restroom renovations and updates to athletic facilities.
Also among expected expenses are $122,000 to rent the modular units comprising Page Middle School and the yet-to-be determined costs for moving school division administrative offices to Walker Education Center and providing staff development in preparation for the return to two middle school programs for grades six through eight in 2015.