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Roanoke schools plan budget amid city shortfall

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - As the city of Roanoke is projecting a $4 million budget shortfall, the school system is preparing to make up some of that difference.

School leaders said they are not sure exactly what the shortfall will mean for them, but they do not plan to cut jobs or programs.

School board chair Annette Lewis said at Tuesday night's budget workshop that the school budget is expected to be reduced by about $1.65 million. School finance leaders said they will be able to save about $500,000 this coming year in health care benefits and other small items. The school system also has a savings fund with money that can be used if a shortfall is severe.

"We're not just looking at what the city might do," said Lewis. "We're certainly looking at what the state is going to do. We're looking at other expenses."

School leaders are holding out hope for extra money from the state to provide bonuses to teachers. These numbers are not set in stone and they will not have a definite budget until the spring.

Roanoke has implemented a hiring freeze and also proposed delaying building maintenance and holding back on equipment purchases to reduce spending.