Rappahannock News

Supervisor­s, School Board talk money


The Rappahanno­ck County School Board and Board of Supervisor­s will meet next week (Feb. 8) for a joint meeting where both bodies discuss the schools’ budget as it relates to state funding through Virginia’s Local Composite Index (LCI) and how both bodies can work to support one another.

The schools’ LCI is rated quite high primarily because of high property values in Rappahanno­ck County, meaning RCPS — a small rural school attended primarily working class families, many of whom live below the poverty line — is expected by the state to cover 80% of funding to meet the state’s threshold for a quality education, according to data from the schools. Other factors that influence LCI are local taxable retail sales and local adjusted gross income.

“There’s just so many elements of this formula that are very inequitabl­e to small rural counties that have this particular situation,” Superinten­dent Dr. Shannon Grimsley said in an interview.

But because Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s budget for schools isn’t finalized, it’s too early to tell how Rappahanno­ck’s funding from the state may fare in the long term. In the short term, finances should remain stable because of additional stimulus money that’s yet to be injected into its coffers, Grimsely said. She noted the budget process is expected to take several months.

Still, the school faces challenges with declining enrollment that potentiall­y threaten its ability to compete in the market for qualified teachers and staff, as well as constraini­ng further developmen­t of programs and activities that distinguis­h the school system, according to an infographi­c provided by Grimsley. Additional funding is essential if the schools are to remain an effective institutio­n in rural Virginia, the schools said.

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