Albemarle School Board Chips Away at $3.9 Million Budget Shortfall

April 17, 2014

In a nearly four-hour budget work session Thursday night, the Albemarle County School Board chipped away at a $3.9 million funding gap through a series of potential cuts and tough decisions.

The school system is now millions of dollars shy of its request after the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved a tax rate of 79.9 cents per $100 of assessed value on Wednesday.

The board plans to eliminate the deficit in part by increasing class sizes.

Members agreed to increase the average class size by 0.2 students across the entire division. Depending on the class and grade level, some classrooms could see no change while others may grow by one, two or three students.

If the board goes through with increasing class sizes, eight full-time positions could be impacted. To balance the cost, some employees could be knocked down to part-time positions, while some part-time employees could get even fewer hours a week.

The board is also considering giving teachers and staff less of a raise. A proposed 2 percent pay increase for employees has been decreased to 1 percent to help close the shortfall.

The board also plans to eliminate the deficit through a series of program cuts. Some programs, however, were spared.

Cale Elementary's world language program made the cut, athletic participation fees will not go up and the new Environmental Studies Academy at Western Albemarle High School is off the chopping block.

Thursday night's decisions have not been finalized. The board will approve the budget Thursday, April 24.

Before taking a vote, they will hold a public hearing.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Lane Auditorium in the Albemarle County Office Building.

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