Lynchburg Schools Superintendent Asks City for Increased Budget Funding

Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg public school officials have presented their budget for next year to their School Board.

At more than $80 Million, it includes staffing additions, new programs for gifted children, and security improvements to elementary schools.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand told the school board this week that the time for school cuts is over.

He says the expectations placed upon public schools have never been greater, while budgets in years past have suffered from a lack of support from the city.

Mayor Mike Gillette strongly disagrees.

"We need to have the conversation; we need to decide what kind of 'burg Lynchburg wants to be" said Brabrand.

And with that, Brabrand made his case for a $2.6 Million budget increase.

"70% of the tier one budget requests are around instruction. We've got to be providing an outstanding education to all kids."

Tier one consists of the bulk of budget requests.

They include, a 2.5% salary increase for all employees; something not seen for five years.

The addition of two new social workers to school staff; currently, one serves the entire system.

As well as paid security guards at every elementary school.

Brabrand says, over the last decade, the percentage of funding from the city's general fund has steadily declined, and cuts to staff have reached a breaking point.

"We haven't done our fair share of cutting. We've done the full share of cutting" he said.

"To somehow say that the city has fallen down on the job and is responsible for any sort of fiscal crisis within the school system I think is grossly unfair" said Lynchburg Mayor, Mike Gillette.

Gillette points out that while the school's percentage of the city general fund has decreased, the amount of money in recent years, has increased.

"We've worked very hard to preserve the amount of money we give to the schools. And in fact, the adjustment and even in just percentage of the general fund is negligible compared to the cuts that we've made in other departments" he said.

This budget conversation has really just begun. The school board must receive funding amounts from the city and state before they can finalize a budget.

Something that likely won't occur until March.