On Tuesday evening, I presented the Goochland County School Board with a balanced, needs-based budget that provides the personnel and resources that will move our school division forward on our journey to maximize the potential of every learner.  The initiatives outlined in this proposed budget align with our strategic plan and are aimed at maintaining our position as a leader in the Commonwealth.

The full presentation is available here, and the following includes a summary of the different aspects of the proposed budget.

Goal 1:  Prepared for Life through Deeper Learning

  • 1 English teacher at Goochland High School
  • 1 math teacher at Goochland Middle School
  • 1 division-wide mental health counselor
  • Increasing one school counselor contract at Goochland High School from 11 months to 12 months
  • Maintaining administrative intern and assistant athletic director stipends at Goochland High School, Dean of Students stipend at Goochland Middle School, adding a division-wide lead school nurse stipend and senior project advisor stipend at GHS
  • Additional funding for dual enrollment, Advance College Academy, and Maggie Walker tuition
  • Increase funding for instructional materials and supplies at each school
  • Additional funding for Career and Technical Education and Robotics
  • Funding to support students taking online, virtual courses
  • Assistance to provide equitable field trip experiences for all preschool through fifth grade students
  • Summer enrichment camp experiences for students
  • Funding for additional classroom software
  • Initiatives to support students in alternative education settings

Goal 2:  Improved School Climate – Attract and retain quality teachers and staff

In December 2018, Governor Northam presented his proposed budget for consideration by the General Assembly.  His proposal included funding for the state share of a 5% raise.  In order to receive this additional state funding, localities must provide a minimum average raise of 5% “during the 2018-2020 biennium, either in the first year or in the second year or through a combination of the two years” (slide 45).  Should the Governor’s plan be approved, our division will be the beneficiary of some additional funding for the state share of this initiative. It is, however, important to note that the vast majority of funding (69%) for our division’s personnel, instructional, and operational budget comes directly from funds provided to us from funds appropriated to us by the Goochland County Board of Supervisors, not the state (slide 74).

Providing all of our employees with an overall competitive compensation plan is a priority in this proposed budget and aligns with the proposed compensation plan that the School Board is currently considering.  This policy, under consideration by the Board, includes the goal of becoming “the leader in overall compensation among competitive regional divisions”.  My recommended budget includes a proposed 3% raise for all employees.  This proposed raise, in conjunction with the 2% raise that employees received this year, will allow us to receive the additional state funding referenced in the Governor’s proposal.

This will help us to retain the incredibly talented professionals we currently have and to attract exceptional candidates when vacancies occur.  The budget includes a total of $814,028 in funding for salary improvement, funding for revisions to certain classified salary scales (professional support staff & bus driver) and administrative scales, and funding for salary scale adjustments.  Drafts of the proposed revisions to specific salary scales will be presented to the Board at their February 5 budget work session.

This proposal includes funding that will allow the school division to absorb the projected increase in health insurance premiums. This means no increase in out of pocket health insurance costs to employees who choose our high deductible plan or our $500 deductible plan (slide 54).  This is important in our ability to remain competitive in attracting and retaining the most talented educators, as other neighboring governments may pass some or all of any increase in health insurance premiums to their employees.

One further employee benefit that is outlined in the proposed budget is an increase in funding for recruiting initiatives and a plan for subsidizing preschool opportunities for employees’ children if there are slots available in the programs at our elementary schools.  These initiatives should help us retain our most talented and reliable employees as we strive to be responsive to the changing needs of our workforce.

Goal 3 – Safe Schools with Effective Management

  • Increasing staffing in the central office Finance Department
  • Funding for software needed for division-wide operations
  • Additional funding for utilities and the maintenance of facilities

In addition to the personnel resources and programs identified for us to accomplish our strategic objectives as outlined above, this proposed budget includes opportunities for us to re-purpose and reallocate current resources by abandoning specific practices and processes, thus allowing us to use the funds previously allocated to these practices to fund our strategic needs.  These recommendations are outlined on slide 63.

In all, the proposed budget for next year includes additional expenditures in the amount of $1,298,689 or 4%.  Overall, 70.3% of next year’s budgeted expenditures will be focused on our instructional program with another 7.7% in Technology.  These additional expenditures are offset by new revenue from state, Federal, and local sources. The proposed increase in funding from the Goochland County Board of Supervisors is in the amount of $740,000. Total funding from our local government for the fiscal year is up 3.3% and is at a projected $23,330,000.

Through our budget process, there were programmatic and personnel needs that have been identified, but are currently unfunded in this proposal.  These needs were given very careful consideration. If additional revenue is available in the future, the following needs have risen to the next level of funding priority for future consideration (slide 77):

  • CTE teacher for Secondary Complex
  • Subscription of No Red Ink for GMS and GHS
  • Instructional technology coach
  • Funding for furniture replacement
  • Part time compensation and human resources analyst

In summary, this proposed spending plan for next year provides the resources to support our journey toward continued excellence as we ensure that we are providing ALL of our students with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities that are so crucial for students to become successful members of a modern global community.

Several public meetings will be taking place in the coming weeks as the School Board and the Board of Supervisors make final budget decisions for next year.

  • February 5th – School Board Budget Work Session – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6  p.m.
  • February 12th – Public Hearing on School Board Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 6:30 p.m.
  • February 26th – School Board Approves 2019-2020 Budget – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6:30  p.m.
  • March 5th – Presentation of School Board Approved Budget to Goochland County Board of Supervisors – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.
  • March 6th – Districts 4 and 5 Town Hall – Hermitage Country Club – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 13th – Districts 2 and 3 Town Hall – Central High School Cultural and Education Complex – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 18th – District 1 Town Hall – Company 4 Fire House – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 2nd – Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 16th – Board of Supervisors Approve County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.

I hope that you are able to attend.  As always, please let me know if you have questions or need further clarification regarding anything contained in this proposed budget.

 

Dr. John Hendron, our Director of Innovation and Strategy, and I recently had the opportunity to take our 360 degree camera inside Goochland High School to see the excellent work of our students and staff.  We also had the chance to speak with students, staff, and Mr. Collier, GHS principal.  Take a moment to use your mouse (or your fingers on your phone) to get the full 360 degree experience of the awesomeness of Goochland High School!

As we begin a new calendar year, we reflect on the successes of the first half of our academic year and look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead for us in the Spring!  January is also a time for us to accelerate our planning for the start of another school year in August. This future planning begins with the development of our annual operating budget, a budget aligned with our vision, mission, and core values that will provide the resources to allow us to build upon  our many past successes and our desire to continue to shine as a leader in providing students with an exceptional academic experience.

Our annual budget development process began in October as input was solicited from key division leaders regarding their identified programmatic, personnel, and other resource needs.  In addition, our leadership team was asked to critically analyze our current processes to determine whether or not there were opportunities to abandon past practices in an effort to re-allocate funding to newly identified needs.  Feedback from our community has also been a part of this budget development process as input was sought from our stakeholders, including staff, citizens, and students regarding their perspective on our division’s budgetary needs. There was a lot of valuable feedback that was shared through this process.  The results of this community survey was shared with the Goochland County School Board in December and can be found here.

So far this month, the Goochland County School Board has conducted a budget work session aimed at identifying the many different personnel, programmatic, and resource needs of our school division that have been identified through the process to date.  My presentation shared with the School Board on January 8 can be found here.  The budget development process will require a prioritization of the future needs of our school division and the utilization of available financial resources in alignment with our division’s identified goals in our strategic plan.  These goals include providing the curricular and personnel resources that will enable us to maximize each student’s academic potential as we prepare our students for the challenges of learning and working in the modern global economy.  Additionally, we will work to provide a total compensation package for our employees that is competitive in our region so that we can ensure that we can retain the incredibly talented professionals we have and attract exceptional candidates when vacancies occur.

Fiscal efficiency and transparency are also critically important as we work to develop our future spending plan.  There will be several future meetings where there School Board and the Goochland County Board of Supervisors will be discussing and making decisions regarding next year’s budget.  I hope that you are able to attend the School Board’s next meeting coming up on Tuesday January 29 at 6:30 p.m. when I will be presenting my recommended spending plan for next fiscal year.  Please also join us at the many other upcoming public meetings on our budget.

  • February 5th – School Board Budget Work Session – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6  p.m.
  • February 12th – Public Hearing on School Board Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 6:30 p.m.
  • February 26th – School Board Approves 2019-2020 Budget – Goochland County Public Schools Central Office – 6:30  p.m.
  • March 5th – Presentation of School Board’s Approved Budget to Goochland County Board of Supervisors – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.
  • March 6th – Districts 4 and 5 Town Hall – Hermitage Country Club – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 13th – Districts 2 and 3 Town Hall – Central High School Cultural and Education Complex – 7:00 p.m.
  • March 18th – District 1 Town Hall – Company 4 Fire House – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 2nd – Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 7:00 p.m.
  • April 16th – Board of Supervisors Approve County Budget – Goochland Administration Building, Room 250 – 3:00 p.m.

Our school division is the beneficiary of a supportive community of parents, citizens, and volunteers who have made an investment of their time, talent, and resources to ensure that our students are provided the resources and opportunities that they need in order to receive an exceptional education.  Thank you for the part that you play in making this possible!

 

 

We have had an exceptional first half of this academic year!  As I walk through our schools, I continue to see countless examples of the excellence that is ever-present in the Goochland County Public Schools.  Our highly dedicated, talented, and expert instructional staff are providing students with exceptional learning experiences on a daily basis.  I continue to be amazed by what I see taking place!

Thanks to everyone on Team Goochland, including our staff, students, parents, volunteers, and supporters who contribute daily to the many successes of our school division. Your investment of time, labor, and resources in our community’s future, our students, is why our school division continues to be recognized as a leader in public education in the Commonwealth.  I am truly humbled to be able to live in and serve in this wonderful community!

As we approach a break in our instructional calendar, I hope that you will have an opportunity to rest, relax, connect with those who are important in your lives, and allows you some time to do what you enjoy!  Best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

Seasons Greetings from the Goochland County Public Schools

All three of our elementary schools annually welcome grandparents and extended family to school to enjoy a meal and participate in classroom activities with our students.  This year, I had the pleasure of being a part of Grandparent’s Day at Byrd Elementary School.  Over 450 parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and extended family participated in this incredible event!

Dr. Hendron and I joined in the fun and festivities as we took our 360 degree camera inside to capture this exciting event.  As you watch, use your mouse or your fingers to pan around to get the full experience!

Budget season has begun!  I am in the midst of collecting feedback to help me prepare my upcoming budget request.  Again this year, I am seeking your perspective regarding ideas that you may have for budget initiatives as well as opportunities for efficiency.  Please take a moment to share your thoughts with me via this survey.  I welcome your thoughts, comments, and perspective.  Results of this survey will be shared with the School Board at their upcoming December meeting.

It’s amazing how quickly this school year is moving!  We are entering our 13th week of school and we are well into the second quarter of the school year. The momentum from an extremely smooth opening of school has continued as we remain on track for another fantastic year.

This week, our school division will be celebrating American Education Week, a time to pause and celebrate the work that we do as public educators to inspire the next generation of youth in Goochland to make a positive impact in our ever changing world.  During the past several weeks, I have spent time in our schools, clinics, buses, offices, and cafeterias seeing the exceptional work that Team Goochland is doing on behalf of our students. Our Team demonstrates their commitment to excellence on a daily basis as they continually strive to provide our students world class experiences.

I have always had a great appreciation for the challenges that each of our teammates face as they teach, counsel, support, and encourage a talented and diverse student body.  My appreciation for their talents became even greater than before just recently as I planned and prepared a short, 30 minute story and activity for 15 of our first grade scholars at Byrd Elementary.  It definitely did not go as well as I planned. Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop? You get the picture.

As I walk through our buildings, pop into classrooms, and conduct instructional rounds, I am impressed with our employees and their ability to capture the attention of our students, get them excited about learning, and engage them in memorable learning experiences.  I know that they spend many hours sacrificing time away from their families to plan, prepare, and reflect on the work that they do in order to make this happen, and I am truly humbled to have the pleasure of serving our community’s students and families with them.

Thank you, Team Goochland!  Thank you for your excellence, your academic optimism, and your willingness to create and innovate. Thank you for having the courage to try something new, and for serving as positive role models for our students.  Our school division is amazing because of you, and I am forever grateful for the time, effort, and labor that you dedicate to making our school division awesome!

Last week, all 8th graders from Goochland Middle School attended an event to provide them with some early exposure to the many different careers in the Richmond Metro area. Their attendance at this event at the Richmond International Raceway was a part of our division’s ongoing efforts to maximize the potential of every learner. Read more about this event, Mission Tomorrow, here.

Students from Goochland Middle School attend the Mission Tomorrow event at Richmond International Raceway

Excellence:  A commitment to meeting exceptional standards of growth, achievement, and personal responsibility.  

On Monday of this week, the Goochland County Public Schools hosted a total of 39 superintendents, school board members, and administrative staff from 8 school divisions from Ohio to Louisiana.  During their visit, they were able to see, feel, and experience the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools! Excellence was pervasive in their interactions with our students, our teachers, and every member of Team Goochland!

Every aspect of our division shined as they were greeted by one of our enthusiastic drivers, entered clean and well-maintained schools, and interacted with our passionate employees and awesome students.  In every classroom, students were engaged in exceptional academic experiences as our teachers allowed students to learn through deeper learning opportunities. Students were creating, collaborating, communicating, critically thinking, problem solving, and demonstrating respect through their interactions with both their peers and our guests.

Our visitors pointed out on several occasions that Team Goochland has strong culture of optimism, engagement, and student-centered learning:  a deeply embedded culture that is not found in many divisions. Students showed pride in their schools through their work and the conversations that they had with our visitors.  They openly shared what they were learning and were able to describe, in their own words, what was taking place in their classroom and in their school. The pride and passion that our employees have for their work was also abundantly clear as teachers willingly opened their classrooms to share their skills and expertise with our guests.

From one of our visitors:

Thanks again for a wonderful visit. Ronny, Matt, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some of the practices that makes your school district/division successful. We look forward to sharing some of the things we learned with others. You have some amazing people throughout your organization and it is evident that the positive, professional, and innovative culture you all have established is embedded in every school. I know this event wasn’t an easy task to pull off and many hours were put into making it a success; thank you for investing in it to make it meaningful for us.

Ken Oertling, Ph.D., Executive Director of Secondary Schools

St. Charles Parish Public Schools, Louisiana

Thank you to our talented and passionate employees for the time, effort, and energy that they dedicate to the excellence of the Goochland County Public Schools.  Our division has amazing professionals who serve as role models for educators across this nation to follow. As superintendent, I am truly humbled to have the pleasure to serve our students and our community alongside our amazing team as we continually work to maximize the potential of every one of our division’s learners.  I am so proud of our students, our team, and our community for everything that makes Goochland so special!

 

 

Our visitors were provided an iPad during their visit to capture memorable moments and used the clip app to create their own video.  Check out a sample of some of the videos that they created.