Virginia state law (22.1-92) reads:
It shall be the duty of each division superintendent to prepare, with the approval of the school board, and submit to the governing body or bodies appropriating funds for the school division, by the date specified in § 15.2-2503, the estimate of the amount of money deemed to be needed during the next fiscal year for the support of the public schools of the school division.These precise words are taken very seriously. Notice that the superintendent is to prepare and submit the budget, not the school board. Notice that it says nothing about accommodating the financial climate. This section of code is what Superintendent Hatrick is referring to when he says that he will prepare a "needs-based budget."
The code also says that the school board will approve the budget. In previous years, we have followed the sequence of the words: the Superintendent has produced a budget and the Board has reacted to the budget by modifying various line items before final approval.
Tonight's discussion focuses on two changes to the budget process. First, should the Board provide guidance to Superintendent Hatrick prior to his development of the budget, instead of (or in addition to) editing the budget after he has presented it? Second, should the Superintendent follow the request of the Supervisors to provide a range of budgets from 0% to -15% change over prior year?
I'll discuss each of these questions more later in the week, the full Board will discuss them tonight.
This is just an information item tonight... a matter for discussion. No formal action will be taken until November 11th.