Gloucester school board makes budget cuts

Kim Robins - Posted on May 01, 2019 - 02:04 PM

The Gloucester County School Board adopted a $74,911,392 budget for fiscal year 2020 during its work session last Thursday, coming up short of the $80.5 million FY20 budget request it initially made to county supervisors.

The operating budget for the coming fiscal year will be at $61,796,240, less than the $64,072,293 sought by the board. Money for capital improvements was also cut, with the board seeking over $10 million but getting just $6.9 million. The total local increase proposed by the board was $3.5 million while supervisors only boosted their increase by $1.2 million.

The board was forced to cut 11.5 proposed new positions and instead will only add a school counselor each at Botetourt Elementary and Abingdon Elementary. The board was also unable to increase the school calendar by four days to bring it to 180 days as requested. In addition, the board cut all of its proposed categorical increases.

School division superintendent Walter Clemons said, despite the cuts, he was able to provide $1.3 million to improve support staff pay resulting in an average 10.5 percent salary increase. Also, he will put $650,000 toward a pay scale adjustment and a step for teachers for an average raise of 3.8 percent. The pay for new teachers increased slightly to $42,695.

Clemons additionally said $1,132,000 of the revised budget will go toward an increase in health insurance costs, but the employee contribution will have to increase from $20 for those insuring themselves only to $55 for plans that include employees and their families.