Danville looking to General Assembly for help covering school funding shortfall

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - There are about 245 fewer students in the Danville Public School system this school year than expected.

That amounts to about $1.5 million in state funding Danville Public Schools previously budgeted for but will now lose in June at the end of the current fiscal year.

"Unfortunately, the funding formula for the state of Virginia is closely connected to enrollment," said Superintendent Dr. Stanley Jones. "What that doesn't take into account is the needs of the population you serve."

The school district's budget is part of the city's overall budget, which means that in order for the city's budget to be balanced, the city will have to cover the loss unless the General Assembly is able to help the city before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

"If there's a gap in being able to fund that, then you have to look at what services are going to be cut," said City Manager Ken Larking.

Those cuts could include things like parks and rec activities for kids.

"If there's less for kids to do, then they're doing something else and that could have an impact on the budget in some other way," Larking pointed out.

At Tuesday night's Danville City Council meeting, the council will adopt a resolution asking the General Assembly to implement three specific initiatives to help funnel more money to Danville Public Schools and one initiative that asks the assembly to do anything else it can to help.

The school district does not have any specific cuts in mind yet but has already eliminated six and a half vacant positions rather than trying to fill them.

"As a public entity," said Jones, "we are always trying to be more effective and more efficient in how we use funds. So, that's what we'll do. That's an ongoing practice."

The city has been working closely with local legislators in preparation for sending the resolution to the General Assembly.

WSLS 10 reached out to Delegate Danny Marshal's office in Danville on Tuesday but did not hear back.

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