Superintendent's Proposed Budget for FY2020

Superintendent's Proposed Budget for FY2020
Posted on 01/19/2019

The superintendent’s proposed budget for FY2020 is now available. Each budget development process presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges that we must carefully consider to meet the ever-changing needs of our students, staff, and community. I am confident that this budget places the highest priority on meeting these needs and advancing education in Hanover County, and I am encouraged by what we will be able to accomplish.

The key highlights are as follows:

  • 3% salary increase for all employees effective July 1 (contingent upon state funding)
  • Teacher salary scale adjustment
  • Continued funding of increasing health insurance costs
  • Three School Counselors
  • One Behavioral Specialist
  • Two Behavioral Support Instructional Assistants
  • One contract adjustment creating an additional full-time School Counselor
  • One Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
  • One Extensive Autism Teacher
  • One Autism Resource Teacher
  • One Infants and Toddlers Program Assistant
  • Two Clinic Assistants (secondary schools)
  • Continuation of the Five-Year Technology Funding Plan that includes:
    • Two Instructional Technology Resource Teachers (ITRTs)
    • One Systems Operator
    • Two Network Technicians
    • One Help Desk Representative
  • Eight additional student slots at CodeRVA (for a total of 24 slots)
  • Elimination of the lacrosse athletic fee

This budget represents the exhaustive efforts of many who are passionate about ensuring Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS) remains exceptional, and I am grateful for their valuable contributions. This process involved engaging both internal and external stakeholders that included employees, administrators, parents, various employee and community advisory committees, school board members, and county staff. Additionally, the budget advisory focus group, comprised of school employees, parents, and business leaders, assisted with prioritizing budget items. This budget proposal also represents the strong support of our local funding partners who continue to make education a top priority in Hanover County.

Fiscal Year 2020 represents the second year of the state’s biennial (two-year) budget and Governor Northam’s first proposed budget. Although our basic aid funding decreased by $800,000 primarily due to lower enrollment, the total net increase in state revenue for HCPS in FY2020 is $3.4 million. Based upon the governor’s proposal, these additional revenues are largely intended to bolster school counselors, special education, and teacher compensation.

Now more than ever, school counselors serve a critical role in meeting the ever-increasing and evolving needs of our students, especially from a socio-emotional and mental health standpoint. The governor’s budget includes a three-year plan to fund additional counselors. As a result, HCPS will be able to add several new counseling positions to better support students.

Meeting the increasing demands of providing exceptional special education services to students also remains a priority for HCPS. The governor’s proposed budget includes an additional $866,000 in special education funding due to a state-wide reallocation of existing special education resources. This change was largely in response to a request spearheaded by the Region I superintendents to review the current distribution method. This additional funding will allow us to add much-needed positions, as well as set aside a portion of these restricted funds to respond to our increasing number and complexity of needs of our students with disabilities.

As a service organization, our employees are our most valuable resource. Although we anticipated the governor’s budget to provide a 3% salary increase for Standards of Quality (SOQ) funded positions, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the governor’s budget included funding for a 5% total salary increase over the biennium for SOQ positions. (As you may recall, the state did not fund a salary increase in FY2019. Nevertheless, all HCPS and county employees received a 2% salary increase due to the efforts of our local funding partners.) As a result, this additional funding allows me to propose a 3% salary increase for all employees in FY2020, subject to state funding, for a total salary increase of 5% over two years (FY2019 and FY2020).

Our teachers are at the heart of our mission and vital to upholding our “tradition of excellence.” In the midst of a nation-wide teacher shortage, we remain committed to recruiting and retaining the very best talent. As a result, I am also proposing an adjustment to the teacher pay plan. For the first time in nearly a decade, this adjustment ensures that there is a minimum of a $200 pay differential between all salary scale steps. This adjustment, along with the proposed 3% pay increase, will provide one-third of all teachers with a pay increase greater than 3%. (All teachers will receive increases that range from 3% to 4.3% depending upon their placement on the teacher pay scale.) I am excited to propose this adjustment, and I hope to be able to continue building upon this approach in future years to help ensure our teachers’ salaries remain competitive.

In addition to fluctuating state revenues, the rising cost of health care continues to be an area of concern. The division’s health insurance costs are increasing by nearly $3 million in FY2020 due to continued higher-than-expected health claims in 2018 among school and county employees, as well as other rising costs. As an employer, we continue to assume a greater burden of these increases.

In addition to the operating budget, the proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) represents an investment of more than $78 million over the next five years. This includes a new replacement elementary school (the consolidation of Henry Clay Elementary and John M. Gandy Elementary) with design in FY2022 and construction beginning in FY2023. The CIP also continues funding for the Five-Year Technology Funding Plan and includes $3 million for land in eastern Hanover for a secondary school site. New this year, the CIP includes $850,000 of funding in FY2021 for the installation of vestibules in 17 of our schools as part of our ongoing school safety initiatives. Finally, the CIP reflects adjustments to the costs of some existing projects due to recent inflation in construction projects.

We are proud of our Tradition of Excellence and recognize that we must strategically build upon our current and past successes to ensure we remain exceptional in the future. This proposed budget is an essential component of our continuous efforts in this regard and highlights the importance of collaboration, partnerships, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. It firmly supports our division’s mission, vision, beliefs, and strategic plan, as well as promotes an equitable, relevant, and innovative education for all students. It also represents an investment in our students, staff, and the community we humbly serve. Thank you for your consideration and continued support of Hanover County Public Schools.

Michael Gill

In Education,
Michael Gill, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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