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|Board Present:||Fitzgerald A. Barnes, Willie L. Gentry, Jr., Willie L. Harper, Richard A. Havasy, Allen B. Jennings, and Jack T. Wright|
|Board Absent:||Eric F. Purcell|
|School Board Present:||Robin L. Horne, Brian M. Huffman, Gail O. Proffitt, Vyvyan P. Rundgren, Harold A. (Hal) Schaffer, Sherman T. Shifflett and Gregory V. Strickland|
|Others Present:||C. Lee Lintecum, County Administrator; Ernie McLeod, Deputy County Administrator; April Jacobs, Deputy Clerk; David Melton, Division Superintendent; Becky Fisher, School Board Clerk; Deborah Pettit, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction; Halsey Green, Director of Finance; Ralph Moore, Assistant Superintendent for Administration|
SCHOOL BOARD CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Horne called the April 4, 2007 Budget Workshop of the Louisa County School Board and the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to order at 6:00 p.m.
CALL TO ORDER
On motion of Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Havasy, which carried a vote of 6-0, the Board voted to reconvene the meeting.
Chairman Wright called the April 4, 2007 Budget Workshop of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors and the Louisa County School Board to order at 6:00 p.m. Mr. Wright led the Pledge of Allegiance.
DISCUSSION - LOUISA COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS FY 08 OPERATIONAL BUDGET
Ms. Horne stated the budget objectives for this year are to maintain competitive salary scales, which the process began last year. Ms. Horne said it was a three-year process and they didnt go as high as they wanted to this year due to cost restraints, but progress is being made. Ms. Horne added it might take four years instead of three to be where the School Board wants to be. Ms. Horne said another budget objective is to meet the Schools needs due to growth. Ms. Horne said more students are added to the school system every year. Ms. Horne said to plan for increases in operating costs is another objective because costs are rising for vehicle fuel and insurance. Ms. Horne stated the last budget objective is to develop a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to meet the needs of the growing school division.
Ms. Horne stated maintaining student to teacher ratios is important in Louisa County Public Schools. Ms. Horne said pre-kindergarten has a student to classroom ratio of 15:1 and kindergarten to third grades has a ratio of 20:1. Ms. Horne said grades four and five and grades six through twelve have a student to classroom ratio of 25:1. Ms. Horne stated the State gives the Schools money to keep this ratio and said it is best for the students.
Ms. Horne stated 4,449 students were enrolled in Louisa County Public Schools in September 2006. Ms. Horne said the present enrollment is 4,494 students. Ms. Horne added the additional number of students is a net of 45 new students this year. Ms. Horne said the projected enrollment for next year is 4,600 students.
Ms. Horne stated the budget highlights include a cost of living raise for all employees within the school division, additional positions needed for growth, increases for personnel cost for Virginia Retirement System (VRS), preparation for future growth with the construction or renovation of new schools, additional funding for vehicle fuel and recommendations for the Efficiency Review.
Ms. Horne stated within the budget categories are instruction, which is where most money goes because it is the most important. Ms. Horne stated other categories included are administration, transportation, maintenance, health and psych, technology and school food.
Ms. Horne gave an overview of budget increases and decreases. Ms. Horne stated salary increase is $1,663,365 for teachers and it also includes 3.25 percent for administration and five percent for classified employees. Ms. Horne said new positions for compliance will cost $57,855. Ms. Horne said the increase for workers compensation is $165,560 and the increase for VRS is $175,553. Ms. Horne stated the health care credit program for retirees increased $62,087. Ms. Horne stated other increases in the budget include general liability insurance, which increased $127,082 and vehicle fuel increased $291,399. Ms. Horne said health insurance decreased $193,452. Ms. Horne stated the Schools received money from the State, which helped decrease the budget for capital $48,815. Ms. Horne said the Schools budget decreased in the category for other $93,460. Ms. Horne stated the total amount of increases is $2,814,804.
Ms. Horne stated new positions added for support and compliance include Title I, which cost $78,699, Stipends, which cost $4,320 and SPED/Autistic, which cost $56,924.
Ms. Horne stated new positions added for growth are four elementary teachers with an increase of $227,696, a middle school Spanish teacher for $56,924, two additional high school teachers for $113,848 and two bus drivers for an increase of $31,780. Ms. Horne stated two teachers will be for Thomas Jefferson Elementary and two will be for Trevilians Elementary. Ms. Horne stated the additional high school teachers would go into core areas where needed. Ms. Horne stated the cost for total new positions is $570,191.
Mr. Schaffer referenced a chart for sources of revenue for the school system. Mr. Schaffer stated 46.16 percent is received from the County. Mr. Schaffer said 3.8 percent is from un-funded revenue for reimbursable fuel expenses and grants and 3.58 percent of revenue is from Local funds. Mr. Schaffer said 40.53 percent is revenue received from the State, which has increased from last year and 5.93 percent is from Federal, which has decreased from last year.
Mr. Schaffer stated for revenue changes there was an increase in State funding of $1,226,016 and an increase for reimbursements of $143,389. Mr. Schaffer stated there was a $224,858 decrease in Federal funds. Mr. Schaffer said there was a total increase in revenue of $1,144,547 in FY 06.
Mr. Schaffer stated the revenue estimate for FY 08 is $43,249,697 and the expenditures for FY 08 is $44,919,954. Mr. Schaffer stated the difference between the revenue and expenditures is $1,670,257. Mr. Barnes stated he appreciates the work of the School Board and stated he knows how hard it is to put together budgets. Mr. Barnes said he was concerned with the salary scale for teachers. Mr. Barnes stated the County is listed second with beginner teacher salaries on http://www.blueridgeuniserv.org. Mr. Barnes said he is proud of what the Board of Supervisors and the School Board accomplished last year with starting teacher salaries, but the County is lacking on salaries in the range of five to fifteen years experience. Mr. Barnes stated there is about a 3.9 percent increase for first year teachers planned for next year. Mr. Barnes added he thinks the percentage increase should be reduced to 2.5 percent so the extra percentage could be added to increase the salaries for teachers with five to fifteen years experience. Mr. Barnes said a 2.5 percent increase for beginner teacher salaries wouldnt put Louisa behind the market.
Dr. Melton stated the salary scale was designed to give career steps for every five years of experience. Dr. Melton said when the starting teacher salary scales are set, a teacher with five years experience would get a yearly percentage increase, plus the step increase. Dr. Melton added that policy hits those areas a little more because it is still in effect. Dr. Melton stated the School Board hoped to increase the career steps by $250 this year and an additional $250 for next year, which would put more focus to the middle years experience. Dr. Melton added this would cost about $600,000 more for this year. Dr. Melton said the School Board decided to back off of the additional money for the career steps this year, but to continue with adding additional funds to the career steps for next year.
Mr. Barnes stated he thinks it would be more beneficial to spread money out now between the years of experience to potentially save money. Dr. Melton said the School Board looked at that and it wasnt much of savings. Dr. Melton said career steps need to be looked at. Dr. Melton said Louisa decided to have career steps every five years. Dr. Melton said there are small incremental increases for the first four years and the fifth year would have a larger increase and the tenth year would have an even larger increase. Dr. Melton stated the fifteen-year increase is the highest and then the career steps start to decrease for the twentieth year.
Mr. Havasy questioned the teacher loss retention ratio for this year. Dr. Melton said the average is about ten to fifteen percent, but it is too early to tell. Dr. Melton said the date for resignations is June 1. Mr. Moore said there is a time period for a hiring process from April 15 to May 30 where teachers have the ability to shop the market. Mr. Moore said if contracts can be issued by May 11, teachers could leave this year and be under contract for next year. Mr. Moore stated the Schools are averaging about a twelve to fifteen percent teacher loss ratio.
Mr. Gentry questioned how the School Board came up with an addition 106 students for next years enrollment. Dr. Melton said the School Board uses a Cohort Survival Ratio and it is accurate for up to two years. Dr. Melton stated live births in Louisa County are looked at and the percent of the students is determined from live birth to kindergarten to five years old and that becomes the multiplier for each grade level. Dr. Melton added projections are done every year.
Mr. Gentry questioned how close the enrollment projections were for this year. Dr. Melton said the projection for this year was 4,485 and the present enrollment is 4,494.
Mr. Gentry questioned if Louisa County are at or below the student to teacher ratios. Dr. Melton stated the Schools are in compliance. Dr. Melton said additional teachers are being requested to get below the State compliance level because some student to teacher ratios may be on the high side.
Mr. Gentry questioned if two school buses were going to be new additional buses and six were for replacement buses. Dr. Melton said all eight buses would be for replacement. Mr. Gentry stated the Schools were requesting two additional school bus drivers so he assumed two of the additional buses would not be for replacement. Dr. Melton said the Schools are going to keep two of the buses in operation and they are going to retire six of the buses. Dr. Melton added the Schools are trying to get the buses to a twelve-year rotation cycle.
Mr. Havasy questioned why some nurse salaries increased 29 percent and questioned if the nurses are ten or twelve month employees. Dr. Melton said the nurses are on a ten-month contract. Mr. Green stated when the nurse contracts were issue, it was decided that nurses would get compensated for their number of years of service like the teachers.
Mr. Gentry questioned how Louisa school nurse salaries compare to other localities school nurse salaries. Dr. Melton stated some school divisions are higher and some are lower. Dr. Melton said Louisas salary scales are based on the amount of education the nurse has. Mr. Ralph Moore stated if a nurse is making $60,000, they have a four-year degree and more than fifteen years of experience. Mr. Moore stated the Registered Nurse (RN) salaries are also modeled with the market of University of Virginia (UVA). Mr. Moore stated below the four-year degree, there are RNs with a two-year degree and also a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) schedule and their salaries are based on experience.
Mr. Gentry questioned why school nurses needs that much education. Mr. Gentry added the County has rescue people and he wouldnt think nurses would need but so much expertise. Ms. Rundgren said Schools nurses have to be able to handle an emergency situation until an ambulance arrives. Mr. Moore stated there has been an instance within the last thirty days where an ambulance was called and never showed up. Ms. Rundgren added the number of students with medical conditions within the Schools is quite high. Mr. Gentry stated it seems to him the nurses are over-qualified. Ms. Rundgren stated she would provide Mr. Gentry with a copy of a report she completed for school nurses. Ms. Horne stated she disagrees with Mr. Gentry and she thinks the nurses to a good job at what they are supposed to do. Mr. Wright stated he would like to feel reasonably assured the nurses have the ability to take care of the students.
Mr. Wright questioned if benefits were included in the salaries for the new positions. Dr. Melton stated the benefits are included.
DISCUSSION - LOUISA COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS FY 08-12 CIP
Mr. Schaffer stated a new name of Moss/Nuckols Elementary has been selected for the new elementary school. Mr. Schaffer said the mascot is a fox and the colors are blue and gray. Mr. Schaffer stated the School Board is still working on the total cost for the new elementary school. Mr. Schaffer stated the School Board decided the renovation of Thomas Jefferson Elementary was not in the best interest of the County and said the School Board decided to replace the school to accommodate a capacity of 700 actual students or 850 SOL students for $28 million. Mr. Schaffer stated within the next five years the County is going to need a new high school and the School Board is hoping that $90 million will be a conservative price. Mr. Schaffer said the School Board anticipated $2 million for necessary electrical upgrades for the elementary schools. Mr. Schaffer said if replacing Thomas Jefferson Elementary can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time, then the upgrades would be for Trevilians Elementary and Jouett Elementary. Mr. Schaffer stated the Schools need eight new trailer units; six for Thomas Jefferson Elementary and two to Trevilians Elementary. Mr. Schaffer added the School Board has been notified that the cost of the trailers are going up ten to fifteen percent and the School Board only has one more day to put an order in to save about $30,000 so this is a critical time issue. Mr. Schaffer stated the school system needs eight new buses and technology to upgrade older equipment.
Ms. Horne stated the last day of school is May 25 and it would be helpful to the School Board if they could issue teacher contracts by May 11. Ms. Horne said she would like the Board of Supervisors and the School Board to work towards the goal to extend contracts to teachers to get them back before school is out.
Mr. Barnes stated he agrees with School Board on their decision of replacement rather than renovation of Thomas Jefferson and questioned if the School Board had looked at the possibility of renovating or building a vocational center instead of a new high school. Mr. Barnes added a vocational center may be more beneficial and it would also save money. Mr. Schaffer stated the vocational centers would have to include a gym, a cafeteria and a library. Mr. Shifflett stated the School Board has talked about a vocational center and it is an option. Mr. Strickland added the School Board has even discussed a building new middle school rather than a high school because it would cost less. Mr. Strickland further added it is not an easy answer.
Mr. Lintecum said the School Board is requesting permission to order eight mobile units now in order to save about fifteen percent. Mr. Green said the costs for the mobile units are about $533,000 and with the fifteen percent increase, there would be an additional $30,000 added to the total cost.
Mr. Gentry questioned when the bill would be received for the mobile units. Mr. Green stated the School Board is asking permission to reserve the mobile units at the current price, but the units wouldnt be billed for or received until after July 1.
On motion of Mr. Gentry, seconded by Mr. Barnes, with Mr. Purcell being absent, which carried by a vote of 6-0, the Board agreed for the School Board to place an order and reserve eight modular units in order to save for additional costs.
Ms. Horne stated the School Board would like send out teacher contracts by May 11. Dr. Melton stated teachers have ten days to return the contracts, so if they are issued on May 11, all contracts would be received by the last day of school, which is on May 25. Mr. Wright stated he thinks it would be beneficial for teachers to be under contract for the following school year before the last day of school.
Mr. Gentry questioned if the $1.2 million increase in State funding included a three percent increase for teachers. Dr. Melton said the increase is included, but it is based on the composite index. Mr. Green said it is prorated. Dr. Melton said it is annualized and includes about 1.5 percent, which is about $75,000 to $80,000.
On motion of Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Jennings, with Mr. Purcell being absent, which carried by a vote of 6-0, the Board authorized the School Board to start working on teacher contracts based on the salaries submitted in the budget in order for the contracts to be issued on May 11.
Dr. Melton thanked the Board of Supervisors for approving the request and said the authority to issue the contracts by May 11 will help keep teachers around.
Mr. Barnes complimented the School staff for excellent testing scores.
Mr. Gentry said he would like a breakdown of how the recommendations of the Efficiency Review affect this years budget. Ms. Horne provided a handout of recommendations of the Efficiency Review to save or cost the Schools money. Mr. Gentry stated the Efficiency Report is usually broken down by year and the report provided is for a five-year review. Dr. Melton said this report is broken down for a five-year savings. Dr. Melton stated the problem the School Board found is growth wasnt anticipated in terms of the number of teachers and raises werent factored in on the five-year period so figures were off after the first year. Dr. Melton said the School Board totaled the five-year savings and did their own study of the costs and savings.
Mr. Gentry questioned if the School Board followed up asking for documentation explaining why the numbers werent correct. Dr. Melton stated the School Board has requested that information several times and it appears to be a confusion of data. Dr. Melton stated the School Board presented their case and some things were corrected, but there was a deadline with the Governors Office so the report was submitted. Dr. Melton stated the School Board worked with the Governors Office to correct the spreadsheets submitted and the goals were met and the Schools were checked off by the Governors Office. Mr. Gentry stated he has problem with getting the Efficiency Report with numbers that dont have any creditability and questioned what good the report is. Dr. Melton said Efficiency Reviews have been dropped from the State budget.
Mr. Strickland questioned if Mr. Green could elaborate on the mistake made on the health insurance because that is the biggest example of savings. Mr. Green said there is a five percent saving each year for reduction and the gross premium that the Schools and the County paid were calculated. Mr. Green stated the Efficiency Report said the total savings of the Schools would be five percent of the total growth premium. Dr. Melton stated concerns were shared with the Governors Office and he understands that no more reviews will happen.
Mr. Wright stated there was a decrease in the budget of 3.3 percent for the health insurance package because of consultants and the Insurance Committee working together. Mr. McLeod stated negotiations arent completed.
Mr. Gentry stated the Efficiently Report shows there are a total net savings of $3.4 million and an additional cost of $1.047. Mr. Gentry stated those two figures are a big difference and questioned if he could receive a yearly report versus the five-year review. Dr. Melton said a written report would take a lot of staff time, but this is the way the report was outlined in the Efficiency Review. Dr. Melton said $1.8 million of the savings is under the Virginia health insurance package costs, which the report was off. Dr. Melton added the report was also off in reducing the number of reading specialists. Dr. Melton further added the Board chose not to reduce the number of reading specialists because they are the key to test scores. Dr. Melton said there is $2.1 million in savings with just those two items.
On motion of Mr. Barnes, seconded by Mr. Jennings, which carried by a vote of 6-0, the Board voted to recess the April 4, 2007 meeting at 6:58 p.m. until April 11, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.
SCHOOL BOARD ADJOURNMENT
On motion of Ms. Rundgren, seconded by Mr. Schaffer, which carried by a vote of 7-0, the School Board voted to adjourn the April 4, 2007 meeting at 6:58 p.m.
BY ORDER OF
JACKSON T. WRIGHT, CHAIRMAN
LOUISA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
LOUISA COUNTY, LOUISA, VIRGINIA