Supervisors Get First Look at School Budget

The Clarke County Public Schools budget rolled out the printer and into the hands of the Board of Supervisors last night just a few hours before a 7:00pm joint work session between the two governing bodies. The just-in-time-delivery of the 50-page budget document caused some frustration for the lawmakers who were getting their first look at the school’s $26,192,890 spending plan.

School Board member Chip Schutte (White Post) presented the plan on behalf of the School Board. Schutte said that cost increases over the FY12 budget stemmed from three major areas; $281K to cover a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for school staff, $850K in Richmond-mandated Virginia Retirement System and health insurance increases and $325K to cover the school’s cost of a County-wide enterprise resource planning system.

“These three major areas are responsible for the budget increase” Schutte said. “All of the other increases have been offset by cuts.

School Board member Chip Schutte addresses Clarke County Board of Supervisors at a Wednesday night joint budget work session - Photo Edward Leonard

Schutte said that an additional $140K needed to hire four additional teachers had been offset by cost cutting in other areas.

Schutte said that the staff salary increase was especially important.

“We need to figure out how to keep our teachers” Schutte said. “Our highest priority is to keep the teachers that we have and to be able to go into the marketplace and hire the teachers that we need.”

Schutte also reminded the Supervisors said that since 2007 the CCPS budget has only increased $1.1 aside from increases mandated by the State of Virginia that the School Board had no control over.

After completing his presentation Schutte asked the Supervisors if there were any questions about the proposed budget.

“There may be questions but we only received the document this afternoon” said Supervisor chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville).

Other Supervisors concurred with Hobert’s sentiments.

“I wished we could have gotten it earlier,” said David Weiss (Buckmarsh). “It would have made for a better discussion.”

Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood) questioned how the public could have had much input into the budget process with the final budget document being presented so late and encouraged the School Board to publish the budget packet earlier in the future.

“In order to really get input at a public hearing you need to advance your process” Staelin said

Last night’s budget work session provided the Supervisors with the opportunity to discuss the types of spending requests that the School Board is requesting and to provide advice about funding decisions. The Supervisors and School Board discussed the estimated $300K increase in utility costs at the new Clarke County High School, the school bus replacement schedule and food service management costs.

After the meeting Supervisors Hobert and Staelin said that even though the proposed 8% increase in the school operating fund was being partially offset by a 6.6% increase in state and federal funds, the proposed $1,028,033 school operating budget is an overall increase of 10.3% that, if approved, will have to be made up at the County budget level,

Staelin said that the final actual school budget cost to the County will remain a mystery until the Commonwealth of Virginia finalizes its budget.

“We will all be watching closely to see what the state does and what impact that will have on our local budget” Staelin said.

The Clarke County Finance Committee meets on Thursday at 5:00 pm.

View the proposed CCPS FY2013 budget document here: 2012-03-07_bos_budget_work_session_school_board_presentation_fy2013_proposed_school_budget


  1. Lonnie Bishop says:

    Funny…the supervisors didn’t allow public comment last night. The public’s had every opportunity to comment at the SB meetings, here on the CDN, and elsewhere. That whiney statement don’t hold water, Mr. Staelin.

    This process was slowed by two new SB members who took office only 6 weeks ago, and who ask questions that are either naive or show a lack of comprehension of how the school budgets work; one of them tried to bring forward a “budget” that was “reviewed and approved” by 2 “unnamed” supervisors, and that discussion too time away from the real business at hand…especially when it was pointed out that his math was wrong. Again, they don’t need a lecture…they need funding.

  2. Kenny Gall says:

    I think it is funny that they think a 2% cost of living increase is going to keep anyone… They can get a 20% increase right over the hill to the East… This goes for sheriff’s Deputies as well… The grass may not always be greener, but it is most certainly more plentiful…

    At some point people will always start taking care of them selves ans seek better opportunities no matter their level of dedication and love for their jobs.. Love of self and ones family will eventually win out… Keep your 2%, gas has gone up more than that in last couple weeks…

    • trooper says:

      Kenny you’d actually have to work if you did that. I drove by a deputy sitting in trips the other day talking on his cell phone. Two hours later he was still there. You guys get paid a pretty good salary for the amount of work you do, or avoid doing…

      • Kenny Gall says:

        I no longer am a full time paid employee of the Clarke County sheriff’s Office. I took the money and benefits offered by another jurisdiction. So I can’t speak for the Deputy you observed sitting at Trips but if one were going to goof off during work hours in a Sheriff’s Cruiser I would think they would do a better job of hiding than sitting at Trips..

        So I would assume that some type of work was being handled.. So when you see the Deputy sit there for the entire 2 hours let me know, because chances are he was not there the entire 2 hours….

        Lastly Trooper– If you feel our boys and girls in brown get paid fairly for what they do then fill out a ride along form hop in one of the cruisers for 11 hour tour of the county then see if they can change your mind…

  3. George Archibald says:

    Last-minute printed production of the school system’s $26-million school budget was the fault of Superintendent Michael Murphy, and it is appalling that Murphy asked new School Board member Chip Schuette, a very nice man, to be the fall guy for the School Board’s understandable frustration that they only got the massive budget just before they sat down for their public meeting. At least this might cause the Board members to scrutinize the budget very carefully between now and final spproval so that they might squeeze every cent of waste and overspending from it. Denying the superintendent a bonus or salary increase for the term of this board , as one cost-cutting move, could save the taxpayers at least $5,000.

    • Tony Parrott says:

      George, from your statement is obvious you don’t like the superintendant but to say that he threw a SB member under the bus is absurd. The SB and administration worked relentlessly to get this put together. Now I may not have liked the process or what came out of it but the superintendant, staff and SB members (all of them) worked very hard to get this budget to where it is. The delay was caused by trying to reach a number that is impossible to meet without degrading the educational services being provided.

      For John Staelin to say the public didn’t have time to review is nuts. I saw several versions of this budget by going to the SB meetings including the final version that covered the spending increases and cuts. Not in the same format but I saw it. It was also available on the SB WEB site so you can’t tell me it was a total surprise to any BOS member.

      Now for your comment on squeezing every cent out of the schools budget. I believe this is subjective; one person’s idea of waste is another’s idea of necessity. So George, other than cutting the superintendants salary increase (which I believe he isn’t getting anyways) what do you want to cut?
      Perhaps a better question to you and anyone else is what do you want Clarke County Schools to look like? Instead of moaning about every little thing you believe is wrong (and trust me we can find fault in everything) let’s focus BIG picture. What do we want to be when we grow up?

      • Well, Tony not everyone ( including George, I think ) dislikes Mike Murphy. He’s a nice guy.

        They may however have a different point of view. Your previous posts suggest that you are defesive whenever any one disagrees w/ the superindendent ( yes, that’s DENT not DANT) and his position.

        I would encourage you to realx and reflect and try not to opine as to why there was a delay-you were niether there nor a board member.

        The citizens of CC are not as ignorant or as stupid as you make them out to be. They vote and will vote as they see fit without your bullying.

        • Fly on the wall says:

          SpellCheck much yourself? That’s “defeNsive” and not “defesive,” “nEIther” and not “nIEther,” and “superinTendent” not “superinDendent” for you.

  4. Roscoe Evans says:

    Since when do 50 pages constitute a “massive” document? And why the personal attacks – even to the point of suggesting financial penalties – against Michael Murphy?

    Mr. Murphy is the Superintendent of Schools, not the Czar of the School Board. He ought to have ample influence with the Board, but he’s not the printer of the budget and he’s not in charge of the school board, and I don’t see the need to criticize him as though he is some sort of malevolent functionary.

    If there was a deadline for filing the budget with the BoS and it was not met, let us know. Sometimes, that just happens. But it seems that the BoS was delivered the document on time. Why get rankled?

    Chip is a nice man. No need to use that term to obliquely criticize Michael, though. He’s a nice man, too.