Henrico Schools’ recommended budget invests in teachers, opportunities for students

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Henrico, Va., Jan. 24, 2019 – Henrico County Public Schools’ recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20 includes funds to improve student/teacher ratios, expand opportunities for students and reduce the student laptop fee. The recommended financial plan adds $20.4 million over the current budget, and comes in at a total of $505,544,812 in the general fund. That’s an increase of 4.2 percent over the current year. The lion’s share of the budget – 76 percent – is devoted directly to instruction.
 
Some of the highlights include investment in areas such as: 
  • Studying and mitigating “salary compression” of HCPS staff.
  • Reducing the student laptop fee from $50 to $25 to help working families, with the intent to eliminate the entire fee by Fiscal Year 2022.
  • Adding teachers to improve pupil/teacher ratios.
  • Adding more reading specialists and investing in other ways to strengthen academic programming. 
  • Adding staff members so elementary teachers get planning periods for effective instruction.
  • Continuing to expand the Gifted Young Scholars Academy at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School, and integrating STEAM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) at all HCPS middle schools.
  • Expanding the Achievable Dream Academy to the fourth grade at Highland Springs Elementary School. 
  • Adding additional seats for Henrico students at CodeRVA Regional High School.
  • Offsetting the increasing costs of keeping the school division’s vehicles in good repair.
  • Improving and replacing instructional supplies, textbooks and technology infrastructure.
  • Converting instructional assistants from temporary to full-time positions.
  • Employee health insurance costs.
 
There will be a public hearing Feb. 14 at New Bridge auditorium for comment on the recommended budget. The public hearing will take place at 6 p.m., following the Board’s regular work session. New Bridge auditorium is at 5915 Nine Mile Road in eastern Henrico.
 
Henrico Schools’ recommended budget was put together and revised by HCPS and Henrico County staff members at the direction of the Henrico School Board, the Board of Supervisors and John Vithoulkas, Henrico county manager. The process included significant feedback from the public and from employees, including at meetings in each of Henrico County’s five magisterial districts, and at two School Board meetings. Community input, ideas and feedback were also received via email.
 
Employee raises will continue to be considered during the budget process. Henrico County, unlike its neighboring localities, uses a “Unified Pay Plan” in which all employees of the county (schools, government, police, fire, etc.) are paid according to a unified scale that would ultimately be approved later this spring by the Board of Supervisors. Look for more developments as the proposal advances. HCPS teachers are among the eligible staff members who have received pay increases totaling more than 12 percentage points since October 2015.
 
School Board members will review the proposal and provide additional feedback and direction to school division staff before a plan is approved in February, after which the plan moves to the Henrico Board of Supervisors for its approval. 
 
Find out more about the recommended plan by going to: https://henricoschools.us/budget-finance/
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