$317.6 million budget approved by Norfolk School Board
Jordan Crawford | 6/16/2014, 12:55 p.m.
An investment has been made that will change Norfolk’s halls of academia for the better.
The School Board approved a $317.6 million operating budget last Wednesday that won’t pay for some state-mandated positions and decreases funding for part of a division-wide improvement plan.
For months, the board discussed how to fill funding gaps with limited options. The city provided an additional $6.9 million last month, but the division was still $2.4 million shy of a balanced budget. School officials said the lack of an approved state budget complicates matters. Once it is approved, there might be more money to cover other expenses.
Included on the docket was $1.3 million for the Open Campus Academy for dropouts and students who have fallen behind. That program, announced last year, is part of the Transformation Initiative, a plan to boost academic performance and provide more school choice.
The state Education Department gave Norfolk Public Schools the green light this year, but school officials have indefinitely delayed the program, citing budget woes, saying they weren’t fully prepared to start it anyway.
The division had also hoped to restore five instructional technology resource teachers to meet the state’s Standards of Quality requirements, but the approved budget eliminated $410,000 needed for those positions.
The spending plan cut some professional development funds, preschool programs and administrative office costs. It includes an across-the-board two percent raise for teachers and staff and additional reading, math and gifted resource teachers.