Roanoke County Public Schools School Budget Blog From the desk

 Roanoke County Public Schools School Budget Blog From the desk of Penny Hodge, Assistant Superintendent of Finance March 10, 2015 The School Board conducted a budget work session last night and reviewed the Superintendent’s Proposed Budget for 2015‐16. The power point presentation is available at the following link:‐9‐15.pdf The presentation covered estimated state, federal, and local revenues as well as expenditure increases for a 2% employee raise. The School Board will be meeting in joint session with the County Board of Supervisors tomorrow night to discuss the budget plan as well as capital planning for the county and schools. Final approval of the school budget by the School Board is scheduled for March 26th at their regular board meeting. In addition, the employee health plan renewal was reviewed with the School Board last night after an extensive procurement process this year. A special thank you to EAC members ‐ Tim Summers, Tammy Wood, and Aric Palazzola ‐ for participating in all of the vendor interviews and evaluation meetings and helping to make health care recommendations for the next five years. The insurance evaluation committee recommended the following health care policies for 2015‐16:  Anthem – medical plan (not including pharmacy)  Express Scripts – pharmacy plan (same company that Anthem currently uses)  UniCare – new optional vision plan providing more extensive coverage for eye glasses, contact lens, and Lasik surgery to employees who elect coverage (premiums will be paid 100% by employees) Renewal rates for the group health plan for 2015‐16 were also reviewed and will be approved at the March 26th board meeting. Rates are based on actual claims incurred in the previous year and the projection of claims for the following year. Based on our claims experience, the KeyCare 200 plan ($200 deductible) rates will be increased by 2.5% while the KeyCare 1000 plan ($1000 deductible and $500 cash funded in a reimbursement account) will remain the same. In addition, employees who choose not to participate in the wellness plan will pay an additional $40 per month ($480 per year) under both the KeyCare 200 and KeyCare 1000 plans. The wellness plan for 2015‐16 will continue to require an annual physical and certification that the employee does not use tobacco products. The required annual physical certification form signed by your doctor must be submitted during open enrollment in May in order to qualify for the lower wellness premiums for 2015‐16 so be sure you have your physical exam scheduled prior to June in order to qualify. The School Board also reviewed the proposed budgets for other special funds including the nutrition fund. In particular, the board was updated on the year to date progress of the nutrition fund to earn sufficient revenues to cover all expenses. As of January 31st, the program revenues were exceeding expenses and breakfast and lunch participation had increased significantly over the prior year. Unfortunately, the impact of lost revenue from 9 snow days that will not be made up will have a negative effect on the February financials. Efforts continue to offer a convenient and popular breakfast on the go program in many schools and student friendly food choices in all schools. If your school is interested in expanding your breakfast program in a way that makes it more accessible to _____________________________________________________________________________ Roanoke County Public Schools School Budget Blog From the desk of Penny Hodge, Assistant Superintendent of Finance students, please contact Rhonda Huffman, Nutrition Supervisor, for more information. This is a win‐
win for both the financial stability of the program and the health and wellbeing of the students that begin their day with a full stomach. Finally, the School Board directed staff to prepare a plan for a middle school laptop pilot for next year. Stakeholders impacted by this pilot, including principals, teachers, ITRT’s, IT staff, instruction, and textbook content, will be working over the coming weeks to identify the parameters of the pilot program. With the refresh of two grade levels of high school laptops, the school system is in the unique position of being able to pilot a middle school program at no cost. As we wind down from another budget season and hopefully begin to enjoy the arrival of Spring, please feel free to let us know if you have questions about the budget process or feedback that would help us improve our communications to you. February 27, 2015 Another snow day! Despite the snow, the School Board met last night for a budget work session and a full report from the consultant who performed an IT Assessment of the school divisions IT function. Last fall, the School Board requested an independent evaluation of the school division IT function to identify best practices, identify potential efficiencies and cost savings, and provide a roadmap for future investments in technology. The report is available online under the February 26, 2015 work session bullet at the following link: Likewise, the power point for the budget work session is also listed in that same section and covers technology plans, state revenue update, Norfolk Southern enrollment impacts, and enrollment projections for the next 5 years. Coming up, the General Assembly adopted a state budget yesterday which means we should have final state revenue numbers by late next week. The School Board is scheduled to meet in joint session with the County Board of Supervisors on March 5th at 5:30 at the School Administration Office. Another budget work session is scheduled for March 10th at which time we should have many of the budget puzzle pieces identified and the budget development can begin to come together. Stay tuned, stay warm, and stay safe! February 13, 2015 A quick update on where we are in the budget process to date. On a state level, the Senate and the House of Delegates each adopted a state budget this past week which has now been sent to a Conference Committee to work out the differences. Both of the state budget scenarios include a portion of the funding for employee salary increases for positions funded by the state. There are differences in the percentage raise and effective date of the raise between the two budgets. In _____________________________________________________________________________ Roanoke County Public Schools School Budget Blog From the desk of Penny Hodge, Assistant Superintendent of Finance addition, funding is included only for the number of positions funded by the state and only for the state share of that position which means a local match is required. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on February 28th so it is our hope that they will adopt the conference committee budget by that date. It is an election year so there will be incentive on their part to finish the state budget before they adjourn. That being said, we hope to have final state revenue figures by the end of the first week in March. On a local level, the School Board conducted a budget work session this past week to review enrollment projections for the school district for next year. Approximately 50% of the school budget is based on receiving state revenues for each child enrolled in the district. The Norfolk Southern announcement last week that 500 employees would be transferred by summer 2015 may have significant repercussions for the school budget if many of the Norfolk Southern employees have children enrolled in county schools. The Principals have been compiling data on potential enrollment losses by school and more discussion will occur in the coming weeks as we seek to estimate the potential enrollment loss and the negative impact on our state revenue for next year. The School Board also received information on a pilot program to switch from diesel to propane fueled school buses. This program has the potential to create significant fuel cost savings for the school district with a very short return on investment. With the relocation of the bus lot at Glenvar High School as part of the current renovations at that site, the installation of a propane fueling station is possible. There are previously budgeted school bus replacement funds available for buses that must be replaced this year due to age and mileage. Staff will be requesting quotes for both diesel and propane buses in the coming weeks and will bring this back to the School Board for further discussion and a decision on the pilot. The next budget work session is scheduled for February 26th immediately following the regular evening meeting. The session will include a review of the House and Senate budget proposals, possible update on enrollment projections, and the results of the Technology Assessment study currently underway. January 9, 2015 Happy New Year! The School Board has approved several dates for key budget meetings over the next several months that you may be interested in attending or following up on as we work towards developing a budget for 2015‐16. I will, as in the past, try to keep the blog updated to reflect what happens at these meetings and key budget decisions that are reached as we go through this process. Please note the following dates: January 21 Public Hearing on the 2015‐16 School Budget (public comment period) February 12 School Board work session – alternative fuel sources for school buses February 26 School Board work session – IT Assessment results March 5 School Board work session ‐ 2015‐16 School Budget overall budget presentation and health insurance RFP results _____________________________________________________________________________ Roanoke County Public Schools School Budget Blog From the desk of Penny Hodge, Assistant Superintendent of Finance March 10 March 17 March 26 April 16 School Board work session – budget work session School Board work session – budget work session School Board regular meeting – adopt budget for 2015‐16 Unified Pay Plan adoption (tentative) The Public Hearing scheduled for January 21 (Wednesday) is part of a regular school board meeting and includes time for public comment by interested citizens/employees. Although School Board work sessions are open to the public, they generally do not include public comment periods. During work sessions, the School Board members generally listen to information they have requested from staff and then participate in board discussions to build consensus for a board decision on the matter at hand. Action by the School Board may be taken at a work session or it may be deferred to a future school board meeting based on the desire of the School Board. December 9, 2014 As we prepare for the coming budget process, I ran across a very easy to read article on the importance of investing in K‐12 education and what is happening with the Virginia economy that is impacting that investment. If you have time or interest, take a look at the following article written by Jim Regimbal who is well known around the state for his knowledge about the economy and specifically as it relates to education. I think you will find it worth your time. November 24, 2014 Since the holidays are approaching, it must be time to gear up for another budget season as budget seems to garner more headlines this time of the year. I am not sure if it is because we are usually saying good bye to the auditors in November as they finish their review of our financial activities for the previous fiscal year or if it is because another election has passed and talk is turning to what will happen in Richmond this year. In any event, the behind the scenes work to prep for a new budget is underway and you should expect to see more frequent blog updates in the coming weeks and months reflecting our progress. At the moment, our resources are focused on several RFP’s (requests for proposals) – some are for routine services we must bid out every so many years and some for new ventures that may be beneficial to the school system. The following RFP’s are in process as we speak: 1. IT Assessment – comprehensive evaluation of technology in the school system to study the effectiveness of current technology deployment and utilization in the school district in search of efficiencies, recommendations, and potential cost savings. _____________________________________________________________________________ Roanoke County Public Schools School Budget Blog From the desk of Penny Hodge, Assistant Superintendent of Finance 2. Cell towers – deployment and management of wireless communication cell towers on county property. The lease of cell tower space to wireless carriers has the potential to generate significant annual revenues for the schools and county. 3. Employee health plan – group health insurance, vision, and prescription drug coverage. We are in the 5th and final year of the contract with Anthem. 4. Flexible Spending plan and Health Reimbursement Arrangement – administration of voluntary employee flexible spending plan and HRA accounts. We are in the final year of the contract. 5. Investment Consulting – annual investment advice for employee 403(b) voluntary retirement plan. We are in the final year of the contract. 6. Financial Management System – replacement financial software for all school and county financial functions (excluding the student activity funds at the individual school level). This project will include a lengthy implementation plan but will be replacing the system in place for the past 24 years which is expiring. All of these projects have potential impacts on future budgets so more information will be forthcoming on these as the proposals are evaluated and recommendations are made to the School Board over the next several months. What happens next? Governor McAuliffe will release his proposed state budget on December 17th. Locality specific projections should be available about a week later. Using that data, we will be able to see the first glimpse of the 2015‐16 state funding levels for our school district. Simultaneously, school departments will be preparing expenditure budget requests for submission in January. The General Assembly will convene in January and then the fun begins. As we close out November and prepare for the work ahead, may you have a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday! _____________________________________________________________________________