Recommended 2020-21 financial plan includes big wins for Henrico Schools’ students and staff members

Henrico, Va., Jan. 30, 2020 — Henrico County Public Schools’ 2020-21 Recommended Financial Plan includes $19 million in new funding and addresses some major needs of Henrico families, teachers and staff members. The budget proposal focuses on more opportunities and support systems for students and teachers, continued investment in safe and well-maintained learning spaces, and restoring cuts suffered during the Great Recession. Important budget initiatives include:

  • Forty school counselors, nearly doubling the number of counselors at the elementary level in order to address a critical need among students for social and emotional support.
  • Daily elementary teacher planning time, fulfilling a promise to instructors to provide important resources. HCPS continues to add support staff in schools, such as counselors, innovative learning coaches and library assistants, so that master schedules can be adjusted to ensure daily planning time.
  • Converting 25 exceptional education instructional assistants from temporary to full-time positions. The change would strengthen the support for students with special needs, give them more continuity in the classroom, and provide valued employees with full-time benefits.
  • A new “career ladder” program, enabling staff members to climb in experience, expertise and pay.
  • Thirty-five full-time substitutes to provide more consistent coverage in schools. All 35 positions would have higher salaries and full-time benefits, to help attract and retain excellent candidates.
  • Thirteen elementary school library assistants, to ensure that elementary library programming offers greater opportunities for students and teachers.
  • Developing a school bus tracking app to allow parents to locate their student’s bus in real time.
  • An emergency planning and response system known as “Anonymous Alerts,” and updated registration software for school visitors.

While a pay increase for HCPS employees is not yet included in the proposed budget, it is customary in Henrico County to consider compensation increases for both schools and general government employees later in the budget process.

“As I’ve talked this year with Henrico families, staff members and people in the community, I’ve gained a greater understanding of areas that need our investment if we are to continue to grow and thrive as a school division,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent.

“This financial plan incorporates that input, builds on the progress we’ve made in recent years and continues to focus on the goals in our strategic plan.”

The 2020-21 recommended budget totals $533,489,709, a 3.7% increase over the current year. Building and revising the document is a collaboration between HCPS staff members and general government partners, led by John Vithoulkas, Henrico county manager. The process included significant feedback from the public and employees, including two community input meetings in October and two additional public input sessions in front of the School Board in November and December. Community input, ideas and feedback were also received via email.

School Board members will review the proposal and provide additional feedback and direction to school division staff. School Board members will approve a budget in February, after which the plan moves to the Henrico Board of Supervisors for its approval.

Members of the public may comment on the proposed budget at a public hearing to be held after the School Board’s regular work session on Feb. 13. More information will be available at the School Board’s webpage at henricoschools.us/school-board/.

Find out more about the recommended plan by going to henricoschools.us/budget-finance/.