Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy told the Board of Supervisors that with the school budget in the “black” he hopes to continue financial reforms both in the budget planning cycle and by establishing a “carry-over” allowance that will provide the school division with greater control over its annual spending. In other news, Dr. Murphy said that a school guitar class was canceled over space considerations.
Over the past several years Clarke County Public Schools has ended its budget year with significant budget surpluses while simultaneously facing resource challenges that ended the year unfunded. Unspent funds have been traditionally returned to the Board of Supervisors for reprogramming.
Some CCPS staff attribute the surplus funding dilemma to the county’s poor financial management software arguing that lack of real-time fund balance reporting makes efficient budget management nearly impossible.
Dr. Murphy told the Supervisors last week that this year’s budget surplus was expected to be approximately $250K, around one percent of the school’s budget. Murphy proposed that the Supervisors authorize the school division to retain one percent of its budget annually to ease the transition period between yearly budgets rather than returning the funds to the Supervisors each year. Murphy told the Supervisors that his approach will make the budgeting process easier and more predictable in the future.
In other budget related news, Murphy said that the division had received $6K from FEMA for each of the major snowstorms that blanketed the area last winter. Murphy also said that the division was expecting a one time funding infusion from a federal education jobs bill. The division plans to use the money in ways that will not create future annual recurring costs.
Education Programs Update
Dr. Murphy told the Supervisors that due to space requirements CCPS has canceled its Fire Program Class and its Guitar 1 class. Murphy said that 40 students were impacted by the change.
Murphy also said that this will be the last year that band camp will be conducted the week prior to the start of school. Murphy said that in the future all CCPS staff will be required to participate in the school division’s back to school activities.
Currently, four school staff members conduct the off-site band camp near Wardensville, West Virginia and have traditionally been excused from the mandatory back to school activities required for other staff members.
Murphy said that student scheduling has been made more difficult this year due to program eliminations, singletons (courses offered one time only), and staffing challenges.