Superintendent Presents FY2019-2020 Proposed Budget to School Board
Surry County Public Schools (SCPS) Superintendent Michael E Thornton presented a $15.1 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-2020 Proposed Operating Budget, with a focus on employee compensation and a “re-sizing” of the school division, to the Surry County School Board at its meeting on February 12. The proposed operating budget represents an increase of $132 thousand, or .88% over the FY2019 Approved Budget.
“I believe that this proposal reflects the basic needs of our school division while demonstrating our commitment to rewarding the quality performance of our dedicated faculty and staff,” said Thornton. “This estimate of needs also reflects our commitment to investing in our most valuable resource, our dedicated and highly effective teachers, staff, and leaders. Our top priority is to ensure that our students receive a quality education, and this begins with great teachers. To that end, this fiscal plan recommends a 5% salary adjustment for teachers and staff.”
“The FY2020 Proposed Budget has been developed with an awareness of the reality of limited revenue growth, at both the state and local levels,” said Thornton. “This plan reflects a combination of reductions in staffing levels and related costs, as well as a request for a modest increase in local funding support for FY2019-2020. I believe that this combination of sustainable spending reductions and increased local investment will demonstrate our commitment to providing the citizens and students of Surry County with a high performing education system, based on sound fiscal and instructional practices.”
The proposed budget includes the elimination of five (5) staff positions, representing a budget savings of more than $400 thousand, including benefits, in FY2020. This is on top of staffing reductions made in the FY2018-2019 budget. “These reductions represent an appropriate and necessary response to the division’s recent and projected decline in student enrollment, Thornton continued.”
The budget assumes a decline in enrollment of 29 students or 4.0% when compared to current year enrollment levels.
Full funding of this proposal would require an increase in local support of $240 thousand or 1.96% over current local funding levels.
“I am proud of the accomplishments and performance of our students and staff, and I am confident that this proposed fiscal plan will provide the level of investment required to continue on our journey towards excellence.”
Surry County Public Schools’ (SCPS) vision is “to provide a safe, healthy learning environment that prepares all students to be competitive and productive citizens in a highly technical and global society.” In support of this vision, SCPS deployed over 220 Chromebook laptops to all middle school students as a part of a new one-to-one (1:1) technology device initiative where every student is provided their own individually assigned device.
Students, with the use of Google's’ G-Suite, will be able to collaborate with each other and teachers. This will allow students and teachers to have a more technologically enhanced classroom experience where daily assignments, classwork, and homework can be posted for ease of access. In addition to Google G-Suite, students will have access to online resources across the curriculum. Online textbooks and materials are also available for students and teachers.
Through SCPS’ recent commitment to the Profile of a Graduate and the 6 C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Creative Thinking, Citizenship, Critical Thinking, and Content Knowledge, Chromebooks offer learning experiences to prepare students for a technology-rich society. Chromebooks will be implemented into the curriculum to enhance the educational experiences of all students by offering new opportunities for differentiated instruction, personalized learning, and increased student engagement. The initiative will reduce any digital divides among students and provide the opportunity to extend learning beyond the classroom.
The implementation of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative at Luther Porter Jackson Middle School has also allowed Surry Elementary School to become 1:1 with iPads. This creates a 1:1 environment for all students Kindergarten through grade 8. Plans are also in place to deploy an additional 250 Chromebooks to all Surry County High School students during the 2019-2020 school year to complete the 1:1 deployment for all students in SCPS.
Surry County Public Schools (SCPS) was awarded $100,000 by Governor Ralph Northam in School Security and Equipment grants. A total of $6 million was awarded to 102 school divisions and regional educational programs across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The School Security Equipment Competitive Grants program was established by the 2013 General Assembly.
The grant will support Surry’s efforts to enhance interior and exterior security monitoring, visitor identification systems and building access control capabilities at each of the division’s three school locations. SCPS is 1 of only 13 school divisions among the 102 receiving grants to be awarded the maximum amount of $100,000. Since 2016, SCPS has been awarded just over $334,000 in security equipment grants.
For more information about the statewide grant, visit the Virginia Department of Education website.
All schools in Surry County Public Schools (SCPS) have earned full accreditation for the third consecutive year, according to Standards of Learning (SOL) data released to school divisions by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) on August 22, 2018. The state is expected to release final performance results and accreditation ratings in late September.
“We are very proud of our students, teachers, building administrators, support team members and families for their commitment in making this performance and achievement goal a reality,” said SCPS Superintendent Dr. Michael Thornton. “We are particularly pleased that on a division-wide basis our students and schools demonstrated improvement in all subject areas this past school year. In addition, our students outperformed the state on reading and science assessments. Although we are pleased with our overall performance, we will continue to challenge and encourage our students to recognize and achieve their highest individual academic and development potential. I want to congratulate our students, teachers and school community for their great work.”
The 2018-2019 school year represents the first year of the implementation of revisions to Virginia’s revised Standards of Accreditation (SOA), approved by the state Board of Education in November 2017. These revisions are designed to provide a more comprehensive view of school quality, and places increased emphasis on closing achievement gaps and encourage continuous improvement for all schools.
The full accreditation of Surry County Public Schools for the 2018-2019 school year has been achieved under both the old and new accreditation system.
Common Sense, the national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of digital media and technology, has recognized Surry County Public Schools as a Common Sense District.
Surry County Public Schools has demonstrated its commitment to taking a whole-community approach to preparing its students to use the immense power of digital media to explore, create, connect, and learn, while limiting the perils that exist in the online realm, such as plagiarism, loss of privacy, and cyberbullying. The recognition acknowledges our district's’ commitment to creating a culture of digital learning and citizenship.
To learn more about the criteria Surry County Public Schools met to become recognized as a Common Sense District, visit https://www.commonsense.org/education/recognition-districts.