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 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 March 10 School Board work session – budget work session March 17 School Board work session – budget work session March 26 School Board regular meeting – adopt budget for 2015‐16 April 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 _____________________________________________________________________________ Roanoke County Public Schools School Budget Blog From the desk of Penny Hodge, Assistant Superintendent of Finance 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. 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! _____________________________________________________________________________