Virginia DOE’s $201 million budget mistake could impact your child’s classroom

School leaders say the miscalculations will disproportionately affect rural and lower income districts

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Cuts could be coming to your child’s classroom.

This comes after Virginia’s Department of Education shared with school districts across the commonwealth, that they’re $201 million short in state funding.

This multi-million dollar mistake was caused by the elimination of a portion of the grocery tax, a decision made last year.

Part of the bill that eliminated a portion of the grocery tax made sure the lack of tax revenue didn’t impact localities. But, that part was left out and caused the miscalculations for the amount of state funding school districts would receive for 2023-2024.

Here’s how this will impact some local schools:

  • Roanoke City Public Schools will now be short $780,000 and next year will be $1.9 million short of their expected budget
  • Pulaski County will have a shortcoming of $225,000 for the remainder of this school year. In the 2023-24 academic year, the district will receive $558,000 less than expected in state aid
  • Grayson County now has a $94,000 shortfall halfway through the year

“That affects people, that affects our ability to provide education for our students,” said Pulaski County Assistant Superintendent, Chris Stafford.

For smaller districts like Grayson County, they rely more heavily on the state’s funding compared to larger, wealthier districts.

“Right now we are looking at about a $94,000 cut halfway through the year, which was not planned,” said Grayson County Superintendent, Kelly Wilmore.

These funding shortfalls come as many districts are already struggling with rising expenses.

“Due to rising fuel prices and electricity rates, we are going to be over budget in those line items this year,” said Stafford. “I don’t know how we are going to get through this year and it’s certainly going to be worse next year.”

Local legislators, like Delegate Sam Rasoul, are already looking at ways to make up for this funding error.

“We in the legislature are very concerned and want to make sure that everything is done to make sure our schools are properly funded,” said Del. Rasoul.

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office released a statement on the mistake:

The Administration is continuing to work with all stakeholders, including our school systems and the legislature, to address the VDOE estimation tool error. The Governor is confident that we will address localities’ concerns.

Governor Glenn Youngkin's Office

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.