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Carroll schools expect tough year ahead

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Fewer students means less funding, but educators say state expects more from localities each year.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Population trends in Carroll probably mean decreasing school enrollment and a drop in education funding, school board members learned at their Feb. 12 meeting.
School board members discussed budget goals and outlook for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year and didn’t find much hope in the numbers.
Tammy Quesenberry, finances manager and school board clerk, said the “average daily membership” for the schools is expected to decline in future years.
Statistics show that the birth rates in the county have dropped off, according to the report. She noted an incoming class of around 176, where Carroll schools have typically had 300.
“We’re going to look quite different in the next several years,” she said.
As a consequence, school officials have lowered the number of pupils they will base next year’s budget on, Quesenberry said. The current budget year membership was based on 3,925 students, but that’s going to fall to 3,865 next year.
Enrollment impacts the funds Carroll County can get from the state.
“That is why you see a decrease in state funding,” she said. “We’re already starting out... between $259,000 and $264,000 in the hole.”
While the state expects school systems to give 2 percent raises, Quesenberry estimated across-the-board raises will cost Carroll around $359,000. The Senate’s version of the budget proposes the most from the state: $307,000.
“Still nowhere near enough to do a 2 percent salary increase for all your employees,” she said.
Carroll County schools have other obligations handed down by the state, like continuing to increase local contributions for the Virginia Retirement System.
“Any good news?” School Board Member Reggie Gardner asked.
“No, there is none,” Quesenberry answered. “It’s going to be another tough year.”