The Roanoke Civic Center, Catholics and gas bills in today’s letters to the editor.
Pick of the day: In need of reality-based budgeting
Re: “Trouble ahead in Montgomery” (May 21 editorial):
Editors writing of an “intractable $4.2 million budget gap” should be reminded that Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Blackburn’s original budget did not include a $1.2 million salary step increase or $1.2 million to continue temporary positions previously funded through federal stimulus dollars.
The school board’s addition of these items would have required an estimated property tax increase of 24 cents (rather than the 12-cent increase approved), an increase never seriously entertained by the board of supervisors.
Subtracting these two items yields a realistic budget gap of $1.8 million. Most of this could have been covered by following the superintendent’s initial staffing proposal, which saved $1.46 million through a reduction of 25 positions (by trimming course offerings, realignment of programs and a small increase in class size) and would have resulted in a shortfall under $350,000.
The mandatory cut of adult education plus Blackburn’s recommendations on reducing a bonus and moving Rivendell would have accomplished a balanced budget and avoided the exhausting, community-splitting contentions that ensued.
Instead of cheerleading for state and local tax increases, it would seem this school board should have followed Blackburn’s lead in reasonable and reality budgeting.