VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia Beach and Norfolk public schools are bracing for budget shortfalls hovering between $16 and $18 million for fiscal year 2014.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) have outlined a plan to eliminate positions, increase class sizes and cut back on construction programs in an effort to save money amid a $16 million shortfall.
Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) are considering similar options, including reduction of staff and non-personnel operating costs.
The school system's budget shortfall, originally $32 million, was cut to $15.9 million by dipping into school savings. VBCPS created the savings over three years of eliminating positions, an energy savings program and eliminating targeted programs.
According to a news release from Superintendent James Merrill, VBCPS aims to eliminate between six and 10 positions within the system's administrative level, cut all non-personnel department budgets by 5 percent, increase class size by a .25 student ratio and implementing a new high school master schedule next fiscal year.
Merrill said the school system has moved $37 million from savings into operating budgets during the past three years.
Additionally, Merrill said the school system's renovation and construction budget plan for the next six years, estimated at $217.3 million, has been cut by $10.5 million. This will include delaying some renovation projects and scaling back summer maintenance, Merrill said.
Norfolk Public Schools are facing a budget shortfall of $18.7 million, $2.6 million of which is being used for health insurance premiums and $4.6 million of which are being used for a 2 percent salary increase for all staff.
Fiscal year 2014 marks NPS' fifth year of budget reductions, totaling $27.3 million. In that time, 695 positions have been cut. The city has contributed $2.7 million to the NPS base since 2009.
NPS will be holding two budget community conversations; Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Huntersville Community Center and another Feb. 21 at the Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch Library.
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