“I can’t even tell you how wonderful that would be for us,” Smith said. “That would certainly address the additional expenditures we could face this year because, really, we don’t know what else we’re going to need this year,” she said.
Local school divisions receive funding from the state based on their “average daily membership,” based on attendance counts taken in September and March.
This year, school divisions across the state have seen a decline in enrollment due to parents deciding to homeschool their children or enroll them in private schools. Some parents of kindergartners have also decided to defer enrollment for a year.
As a result, funding will decline when the state adjusts payments in January, which school divisions didn’t project when they created their budgets in late spring.
A budget amendment approved by the House would delay adjustments to school divisions’ state funding until after the final ADM is calculated in March, allowing the General Assembly to address the issue in its regular session.
As it stands, Salem, for example, would lose $391,000 from its enrollment drop, Seibert said. Roanoke County would lose at least $750,000 based on projections from its school board’s Sept. 1 work session.
“’Most every school that I’ve talked to, their enrollment is below budget projection,” said Seibert, who is also the Region 6 representative for the Virginia Association of School Superintendents’ legislative committee. Seibert said it has been a frequent topic of discussion among superintendents.