The NPS Budget at a Glance
Norfolk School Board Approves Operating Budget for FY-2021
In its Wednesday, May 27th meeting, the Norfolk School Board approved a $337.1 million operating budget, one that is approximately $13 million less than the budget request sent to Norfolk City Council on March 25th. The budget reduction was the result of a substantial decrease in projected revenues from both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk, due to the pandemic’s negative impact on the economy. Superintendent Dr. Sharon I. Byrdsong and Senior Budget Director Pearl Tow presented the administration’s recommendations on how to close the funding gap and yet preserve a commitment to the priorities the earlier proposal was built on. Those priorities were: employee compensation, safety and security, additional resources for schools and building repairs and maintenance. The School Board ultimately adopted the budget proposal presented by administration.
Budget balancing strategies employed were:
- Review existing positions and fill positions of greatest need
- Reduce central office departmental budgets
- Eliminate positions due to declining enrollment
- Use stimulus fund to maintain the operation of and continuity of services
- Re-base salaries and employee benefits
- Utilize attrition savings
The budget adopted includes an average 2 percent salary increase for employees. (Actual percentages are dependent on employees’ current step placement.) Originally, the budget proposal presented to City Council recommended an average 3.4 percent increase. It also included an increase in starting pay for teachers, from $44,220 to $45,000. However, COVID-19’s devastating effect on the state and local economy made a 3.4 percent increase and raising teacher starting pay unsustainable. Personnel costs represent the majority of the expenditures in the operating budget, so to make a reduction of that magnitude, the School Board had little choice but to make adjustments to compensation. However, the board made it clear that future increases to compensation would be a goal, once the economy improves.
Safety and Security
The adopted budget contains security assistants for Ghent School (K-8) and Crossroads School (Pre-K-8). Other expenditures designed to support a safe and secure environment that are included in next fiscal year’s expenditure plan are: realignment of the job responsibilities of a division-wide administrator to lead the re-energizing of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Initiative (PBIS); funding for professional development for literacy, trauma-informed care and social-emotional learning; development of a psychology internship program; and the addition of 15 bus assistants to assist with transporting students with disabilities.
Additional Resources for Schools
The School Board-approved budget for next fiscal year contains these additional resources for schools: the addition of 11 health and physical education assistants to support school-level wellness initiatives; six mathematics specialists and four reading specialists to ensure full-time support in these areas for every elementary school; the development of a Grow Our Own program to provide staff a pathway to licensure and promotion; the addition of six English Language Learner teachers to address a rising population of students who need these services; the addition of two instructional specialists for the Southside STEM Academy, extending the contracts of 10 counselors from 11 months to 12 months at the secondary school level to keep up with the demands for withdrawals and new enrollments during summer months and to provide additional support to meet the social-emotional and academic needs of students; two teachers to support the National Mathematics and Science Initiative at Lake Taylor and Booker T. Washington high schools; a feasibility study for Booker T. Washington High School; and funding to continue with planning for future renovation and rebuilding of schools.
Building Repairs and Maintenance
This priority area is contained in another budget proposal, the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget. NPS’ original CIP request was $17,068,280 of which $16,068,280 would have been set aside for school maintenance. The approved CIP for next fiscal year stands at $9 million. However, this is an improvement over the current fiscal year as only $3 million has been provided for school maintenance.
To review the PowerPoint presentation outlining the FY-2021 budget proposal, click here.