School system could be running a deficit

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Lunenburg County Public Schools may owe as much as $317,000 in debt services for construction of the middle school.

“We’re just going through checking our books,” Superintendent Charles Barkley Jr. said. “There is the possibility there could be a shortfall, but we don’t have exact figures at this moment.”

However, the system still has money coming in that could go toward the bill, including accrued money on various accounts — funds that don’t usually come in until July or early August, Berkley said.

Changes in the finance department may have allowed the mistake to slip by, officials said.

School officials discussed the matter at the school board’s end-of-the-year meeting.

The board also passed a resolution asking the permission of the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors to shift funds around.

Earlier this year, the system found itself confronting a nearly $1 million deficit.

Besides, falling 41 students short of projected enrolled for the 2015-16 academic year caused an approximately $400,000 shortfall. Meanwhile, for the 2016-17 academic year, insurance went up by approximately $110,000, and the state gave some of the system’s employees 2-percent raises — prompting the need for administrators to come up with $307,000 to give raises to everyone else.

In the budget adopted by the supervisors in June, the school system is getting an additional $50,000, plus the allowance of $156,268 in fiscal year 2015 carryover to equal $206,268 above the current year’s $3,239,616 local funding.

The $206,268 is less than the $342,000 requested by the system to provide 2-percent pay increase. The state will provide funding for Standards of Quality positions, and the local school system wants to provide matching raises for all remaining staff.