Amelia County Schools closed Friday as ‘cost-saving measure’

(File photo)

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Amelia County Schools announced Wednesday that they will be canceling school Friday before Christmas.

School officials said in a recorded message to parents that they decided to close schools in the district in an effort to save money and allow families to prepare for the holidays.

All employees, with the exception of essential personnel, are asked to stay home.

However, planned basketball games are going to continue as scheduled. All other holiday celebrations and events scheduled for Friday are to be rescheduled.

Friday was originally scheduled to be a half-day for the school district.

In an email to staff members, Amelia County Public Schools Superintendent Jack McKinley explained that the district’s ‘budgetary spending needs to be slowed over the next coming months.’

The school system and the county have conferred together and it has been determined that at the current rate, our expenditures outpace incoming revenues. As finances are funneled through the locality, the county covers our expenses and offsets them with incoming revenue. The county has already provided 77% of its local share ($5,000,000) and will not be able to cover expenditures that go above this limit.

Currently, the annual budget is projected to be within budgeted spending limits when looking at it from a year’s perspective. However, the month to month revenues need to support our spending.”

As a result, McKinley explained the school board has implemented the following steps and limitations:

  • Hiring freeze — no new hiring of personnel until further notice
  • Budget freeze — essential spending only in the areas of buses, food services, utilities, essential repairs, essential fuel, payroll
  • All other categories are frozen until further notice
  • Use of substitutes frozen — employees may take approved leave per supervisor approval, but coverage and staffing will have to take place from within each building’s staff. Long-term substitutes may only be used in place of an employee on approved FMLA

McKinley also outlined several areas where staff members can help trim costs:

  • Any paper copies made should be done two-sided
  • There are not any plans to order more paper until further notice
  • Effective today, mini fridges need to be removed from classrooms/work areas and taken home or returned to the owner
  • Effective today, space heaters need to be removed from classrooms/work areas and taken home or returned to the owner

“We know that these are hard adjustments to make,” McKinley concluded. “We appreciate your dedication and support as we make them. Looking forward, when we are able to determine that our revenues have balanced with expenditures then we will reinstate spending areas. Until then, these areas are frozen until further notice.”

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