Waynesboro schools facing budget cuts for upcoming year

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (March 19):

Waynesboro Public Schools announced budget cuts to overcome an almost $1.3 million budget deficit for the next school year.

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Cassell said during a meeting the deficit stemmed from decreased enrollment, stagnant revenue, and limited state funding.

Dr. Cassell explained the board needed to reduce the personnel budget by $825,000, which means about 15 teachers and administrators will be cut from the budget, as well as two to four instructional aides.

"Cuts to personnel require larger class sizes or reduced programs," Dr. Cassell said. "It's the only way to reduce personnel, and when you do that...people lose their job or leave our school. Those are very difficult decisions."

The updated budget still includes a three percent pay increase for employees. Cassell said this increase was a priority as the school district struggles to attract and retain teachers.

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Waynesboro Public Schools is looking at ways to overcome an almost $1.3 million budget deficit for this upcoming school year.

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Cassell said they're getting about $100,000 less from the state than originally expected. Dr. Cassell said that's due in part to decreasing enrollment numbers at the school, which means they get less state funding.

"We're really just dealing with pretty stagnant funding overall," Dr. Cassell said. "We're not having an increase, and all of our costs are increasing."

Dr. Cassell said he believes they've found a path to a balanced budget, but he says that budget will not let them accomplish all their priorities for the year. They hoped to increase teacher compensation, expand career and technical education options, and provide additional services for at risk students.

Dr. Cassell said the balanced budget options for the board to consider will only include a three percent raise for teachers, not the other two priorities.

"We hope to be able to achieve teacher compensation to some extent," Dr. Cassell said. "We're not able to do any of the other initiatives, and there will be substantial cuts."

Dr. Cassell said they've called another meeting for Tuesday, March 19 at Waynesboro High School at 8:00 p.m. He said at that meeting, they will discuss the budget and expected cuts.