School Board Shifts Money to Cover State Funding Shortfall

The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday finalized a series of reductions to balance its nearly $1.3 billion fiscal year 2020 operating budget, making up a $2.1 million shortfall as a result of receiving less state funding than anticipated.

Most of the $2.1 million—nearly 80 percent—is being covered by shifting around unspent fiscal year 2019 funds, covering the year from July 2018 to June 2019. The amount needed to achieve a balanced budget is relatively small, noted Assistant Superintendent Sharon Willoughby, pointing out that last year’s reconciliation process involved finding $14 million. This year, the county Board of Supervisors fully funded the School Board’s local tax funding request.

The fiscal year 2020 operating budget is nearly 8 percent higher than last year’s version at $94.5 million. The additional funding will allow the county to maintain current class sizes and open two new schools this fall, Waxpool Elementary School and Independence High School. LCPS is also planning to open another school in fall 2020, Lightridge High School near Aldie.

In their final adjustments, staff members identified three areas in which program costs will be lower than the budgeted figures, including saving $39,000 in the creation of a full-time position to advance equity and cultural competence throughout the school system. The board had earmarked $200,000 for the position, and after finalizing the job description, it established with a salary of $161,000.

Superintendent Eric Williams also recommended pulling $100,000 from the fiscal year 2019 textbooks and digital resources budget and replacing it next year. “This would be a priority purchase for appropriated, unspent fiscal year 2020 funds,” he stated.

The final amount not covered by shifting fiscal year 2019 surplus money was related to fuel. The board reduced the current budget related to fuel costs by $300,000, an amount that will be made up through updating actual fuel costs vs. projections related to the 2019 and 2020 budgets.

The remaining $1.72 million shortfall will be replaced with other unspent 2019 funds. This includes $925,000 in equipment to upgrade the school system’s network capabilities; $500,000 for Internet, VPN and DMZ upgrades to improve the school’s data center functionality; more than $250,000 for repair work relating to removing obsolete technology; and around $45,000 for tables and chairs.

Willoughby noted that the funding can easily be covered by the projected $11.4 million carryover from the general fund operating budget designated for FY20. “With $11.4 million, we can absolutely absorb that $1.7 million,” she said.

The School Board is scheduled to formally adopt the budget reconciliation plan at its next meeting.

aparker@loudounnow.com

2 thoughts on “School Board Shifts Money to Cover State Funding Shortfall

  • 2019-04-11 at 6:19 am
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    It makes you wonder if the reporters just parrot what the deceptive LCPS admins say or listen to the meetings.

    LCPS reported they have a $23M+ (admitted) surplus in FY19 in this same meeting – not an $11.4M “carryover”. That number generally swells to over $40M when the year ends and the auditors tell us what the surplus (inflated budget) really was. That means that the knowingly underestimated their current year budget to extract maximum tax $$ from the public for the current school year. They have a built-in slush fund to spend on anything they desire including network upgrades or other admin positions without much public scrutiny.

    Of course, the real LCPS budget is not 8% bigger (that’s just the “funding”). LCPS is spending $125M more than in FY19. That’s over an 11% increase!! Of course, LCPS tries to lie and deceive the public by claiming that their admission the FY19 budget was inflated by $30M+ (a reduction in “turnover/lapse” is an admission that LCPS didn’t need $10M’s it requested).

    Maybe one day we can have accurate reporting that understands financial disclosures as opposed to parroting whatever the LCPS propagandists say.

  • 2019-04-11 at 6:40 am
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    All this money being shuffled around and the only part being spent on education is for tables and chairs? This is what happens with the current roster on the school board, finding 20 million in unspent funds, yikes. Reduce taxes. Slush funds for schools is why we need new leaders on the school board. Vote for Sisson, Newcomer, Beatty and Neely!

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