Henrico Schools face budget shortfall

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Henrico County Public Schools will enter the next budget year under "challenging" circumstances.

A $404 million budget proposal being put forth this afternoon includes a shortfall of approximately $26.2 million, the result of increasing expenses and/or a decrease in revenues or one-time funding. To make up the gap, the district is calling for a relatively small number of cuts to positions and programs, but no layoffs.

"People won't be losing jobs, that's the key," said HCPS spokesperson Mychael Dickerson.

The budget proposal includes 28 instructional positions cut through attrition, along with 19 central office positions and 10 exceptional education positions. The district is also making up the gap through restructuring the PREP program, and by instituting more efficiencies in the pupil transportation program.

The district will also put a freeze on "non mission critical" purchases.

"It was a more challenging budget for us," said Kevin Smith, assistant superintendent for finance. Smith pointed out that HCPS cut approximately $30 million in spending over the past two years combined. This year, alone, the gap was nearly as much.

Smith noted that some "one-time" funding was used to save jobs in the upcoming budget cycle, but it remains "uncertain" what future years will bring.

HCPS has cut 247 positions through attrition over the past three years, Smith said.

Stay with NBC12 for continuing coverage of this developing story.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.