March 4, 2014
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors held their third and final work session on the 2015 budget on Wednesday. The discussion focused on a possible funding increase for Albemarle County Schools which are facing a $7 million shortfall.
The proposed 2015 budget includes a tax rate hike of 1.7 cents, the first increase since 2009.
"It's a difficult year for us. Obviously there is going to be some increase, and the supervisors are thinking about that. I don't know that I'm on board with the increase," said Supervisor Ken Boyd.
Even if that increase is approved, the schools will still face a $5.8 million shortfall in their budget.
"I'm hoping that we can figure out a way to close the gap with their funding. Of course we want to support our schools in any way that we can, but we have to also be cognizant of the other departments within the county," said Boyd.
Supervisor Ann Mallek said she was disappointed with the shortfall, and Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Jane Dittmar asked school board members how the funding gap became so great.
School board members pointed to growing enrollment, decline in state aid, inflation and mandates, specifically an increase in pay raises to offset contributions to the Virginia retirement system.
Should supervisors not grant the funding request, the school board has slatted a number of potential cuts, such as reducing pay raises and increasing class size.