Staunton Schools and City Council $444,000 apart on spending plan

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 11:47 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - In Staunton on Thursday night, the School Board and City Council had a joint meeting to talk money, and they’re still $444,000 apart on a spending plan.

The School District is asking the city for $13.9 million dollars. It’s the same amount of money budgeted for 2020, pre-pandemic. That would help address the effects of the pandemic and support strategic initiatives. That includes a 5% employee raise and 19 new demand-driven positions, some of which fill holes left by the 2009 recession.

The Schools pointed to a long-standing agreement where the city gives half of all new revenues to the schools, but the schools are asking for about half of that almost $900,000.

The City’s Chief Financial Officer Phil Trayer says the city has exhausted its fund balance, and the jail’s increasing operating costs are impacting funding for schools and other services. He says any deeper cuts could mean losing positions.

Trayer talked about one-time CARES money heading to the schools in the amount of $8.5 million, and the schools’ ability to tap into its fund balance.

“This is hard work,” said School Superintendent Dr. Garett Smith. “It’s complicated work and it’s hard to do but it can be solved, and it just takes everybody sitting down at the table and working together to come to a solution. It always works when we approach it that way.”

Both Council and the School Board expressed a desire to work together to find a solution.

A Staunton City Council budget work session is scheduled for next Thursday.

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