The Radford City School Board unanimously passed a $15,628,163 FY18 operating budget Tuesday with a modest salary increase for employees and cuts to some programs in the school system.
The budget, which awaits final approval by Radford City Council, has increased expenditures of $338,886 over last year, including a 1.78 percent Virginia Retirement System increase and a 13.7 percent health insurance increase.
According to Radford City Schools Superintendent Robert Graham, the budget includes cuts to the school division’s preschool program, discretionary funds, the transportation department, the theater faculty position, the school libraries, Parent Resource Center, Be There program and the annual China trip.
Graham said the cuts “helped us save $255,142, which covered the deficit, a 1.25 percent salary increase and will allow us to establish a full-time culinary arts program.”
Graham has worked on the school budget for seven years, two as Superintendent and five years assisting former Superintendent Dr. Becky Greer and says “this year, by far, has been the most challenging to balance the budget without losing employees or valuable programs due to limited funding.”
Still, he says it is a budget he can stand behind given the circumstances.
“This is a strong budget, and we have made some changes in developing the budget that will benefit our children, staff, division and school community,” Graham said. “I am proud to offer this budget, but I also realize that we are down to the bone as far as trying to find money to offset the lack of federal or state funding. If things don’t change going into the next biennium, we will have to start getting into the marrow of the bone.”
Tuesday’s meeting also included congratulations to standout students. Art student Jacob Dalton won first place in the Secondary Art Show for his self-sculpture of a metallic skateboarding figure and was congratulated by Graham at the meeting. The Bobcat Boys’ Basketball team was also in attendance with their Head Coach Rick Cormany and was congratulated for their second state championship in a row.
“This is back-to-back, quite an accomplishment,” said Graham. “But what’s most important is the way they handle themselves whether they win or lose.”
Cormany also praised the team’s character.
“These guys are solid students, solid athletes and fine young men,” he said.
This is Cormany’s fifth state title in the past eight years. He says he doesn’t feel like he’s doing anything differently coaching-wise, but marveled at the program’s success.
“It took 27 years [of coaching] to get the first one, and now since 2009 we’ve had five,” he said.