Schools receive additional funds

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, August 2, 2018

City Council on Wednesday appropriated additional funding for the Suffolk Public School division to fund salaries for 24 full-time safety monitors.

The school division now will have an additional $550,559 for its operating budget, but the money will go solely to the new safety monitors.

“There is no money left over since, they are full-time,” Executive Director of Finance Wendy Forsman said on the phone. “After their salary and benefits, there is nothing left.”

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There will be two additional at each high school, which will provide a total of three at the high schools. One safety monitor will be added to each middle and elementary school, Turlington Woods and the College and Career Academy at Pruden.

The monitors will work for seven hours a day for 182 days, which includes two training days.

The funds came from additional public education funding from Virginia’s 2018-2020 state budget that was passed in early June. Since the money is coming from the state, it isn’t necessarily guaranteed.

“That money is not guaranteed. The money is contingent on stable general fund revenue,” Forsman said during the June 14 School Board meeting. “We will not know the revenue forecast until December 2019.”

The state works a budget across the biennium, 2018 to 2020, but the state cannot guarantee the money until it provides a revenue forecast in December 2019, Forsman explained.

“We said if we received additional funding, we would put it towards safety, because we want a person there at the start and the end of the school day,” Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney said during the June 14 School Board meeting. “This is dedicated to the safety issues within our schools.”

The new safety monitors will have specific training, and Dr. Suzanne Rice is working with the U.S. Department of Justice for the specific training.