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The original item was published from 3/24/2016 12:50:23 PM to 3/24/2016 12:51:12 PM.

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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: March 24, 2016

[ARCHIVED] School leaders seek more money for operations

City Council meeting (file photo)

Danville Public Schools leaders presented a request Wednesday evening for an additional $2.6 million to pay for a lengthy list of needs for the next school year. The list includes pay raises and offsetting higher health insurance premiums for teachers and staff.

The list also includes initiatives to improve school performance. One of the initiatives would extend the alternative education program to the elementary schools. Another initiative would add one remediation specialist at each elementary school to assist underperforming students.

If City Council were to agree to provide an additional $2.6 million, then the annual local contribution to school operations would increase by 14.9 percent from $17.4 million to $20 million.

In addition to school operations, the City contributes money toward capital expenses. In the proposed budget submitted earlier this month by Interim City Manager Ken Larking, the contribution would be $3.7 million for the next school year. Included in that amount is $1.6 million to retrofit a building and purchase equipment for a precision machining program.

Larking submitted his proposed budget on March 1, but the process toward compiling the budget started in November. The late request for additional money for school operations will require Larking and staff to scramble to develop options for consideration by City Council.

The proposed budget submitted by Larking maintains municipal services and programs at current levels with no increases in real estate, meals and lodging taxes.

The proposed budget includes a utility rate study recommendation for an increase in electric rates. The bill for the typical residential customer would increase by $2.43 a month. Gas, water and wastewater rates will remain unchanged.

Since Larking submitted the budget proposal, City Council has been meeting weekly to conduct a department-by-department review. These meetings have been open to the public.

Next week, City Council is scheduled to meet for its final departmental review and to discuss final changes to the proposed budget. The departments under review at the meeting will be utilities and parks and recreation. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 29, at 6 p.m. in the fourth floor conference room of the Municipal Building.

The proposed budget is for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Public hearings will be scheduled later in the budget process. Final adoption must take place no later than June 30. The final budget will serve as a blueprint for city operations from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

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