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Fauquier school board approves, prepares to trim next year’s budget

Monday, Mar. 25 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
WARRENTON - The Fauquier County School Board unanimously approved Interim Superintendent Sandy Mitchell's proposed $131 million Fiscal Year 2014 school budget, a road map for school growth almost certain to be rebuffed by county supervisors.

The budget approved at Monday's school board meeting represents about a $5.5 million increase over the current year's school budget. The extra money would give Fauquier schools two more school resource officers - sheriff's deputies assigned to specific schools, five more teachers, a 2 percent pay increase, new computers and the restoration of teacher stipends lost in last year's budget.

Fauquier's school budget has stayed at $125.5 million for the past three years, a belt-tightening effort after the recession. The approval of Mitchell's budget Monday night was a procedural effort, one that runs into County Administrator Paul McCulla's proposal, which would give county schools a $2 million boost instead. At a recent work session, some county supervisors seemed to support a $1.5 million increase.

The next step is to find ways to strip as much as $3.5 million from Mitchell's budget proposal, said Marcy Cotov, executive budget director for Fauquier County Public Schools. That process will take the better part of a month, Cotov said.

To that end, the school board unanimously approved an amendment to the FY 2014 budget calendar, giving themselves until April 22 to revise and adopt a budget.

The board members did not hold out much hope for Mitchell's budget proposal to survive negotiations intact.

"It's looking pretty grim, that's all I've got to say," said Sheryl Wolfe (Lee District).

"We know what awaits us after tonight," Mitchell said.
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