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Spotsylvania County, VA: 'Sharp increase in students with disabilities''

Feb 2, 2019, Fredericksburg (VA) Lance-Star: Stafford and Spotsylvania school superintendents present budget requests https://www.fredericksburg.com/news/education/stafford-and-spotsylvania-school-superintendents-present-budget-requests/article_2b45c4e1-6742-54b9-b305-13108a47d2f2.html School budget season began last week as the superintendents of Stafford County and Spotsylvania County public schools presented their proposed budgets for fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1. Stafford Superintendent Scott Kizner, who started in the position this summer, presented a $308.2 million operating budget to the School Board. It proposes an increase of $18 million, or 6.4 percent, over the current fiscal year's budget. It asks Stafford County to contribute $128.8 million in local funding, an increase of $7.9 million. Spotsylvania Superintendent Scott Baker's total proposed operating budget is $302.1 million. It recommends requesting $140.8 million in local funding, $12.3 million more than the FY19 contribution. … The Virginia House of Delegates plans to include a 5 percent raise for teachers, to take effect over two years. Gov. Ralph Northam's proposed budget also included the raise, as well as funding for additional school counselors. … Kizner's budget also requests 17 new full-time guidance counselors, spread out over all grade levels, and 33 new positions in special education to support a consistently growing population of students with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. … It includes a $7.9 million investment in school and student support staffing, requesting funding for 14 new school counselors, 10 English as a second language teachers, 18 special education teachers, 14 social workers, 24 general education teachers and seven security officers for middle schools. … The Spotsylvania budget presentation shows that enrollment has declined since 2008, from 24,197 to 23,674. … As in Stafford, Spotsylvania schools have seen an increase in the number of enrolled students who have disabilities and those who are English learners. Baker stressed that fewer total students does not mean less money is needed. "There has been a sharp increase in students with disabilities, the high-intensity need population," he said. "And that places a significant need on the locality to support."… "The budget must reflect the needs of our students today, not our students 10 or 20 years ago," he said. …