School financial officer charges
city is making schools pay for real estate tax cut
Vicki Lewis, Virginia Beach public schools CFO, in an urgent message, charges that Virginia Beach City Manager James K. ("The Signman") Spore lied to School Supt. Timothy Jenney by telling him that any real estate tax rate cut by city council would be split between the city and schools.
In a message sent to school officials and board members, she said that the City Council voted the rate decrease - all $8.2 MILLION of which will now come out of the school budget.
Even more important, she said, is that the revenue sharing formula which gives 53.13% of all city revenue to the school system is being set aside.
Lewis wrote: "URGENT MESSAGE TO THE EMPLOYEES OF VIRGINIA BEACH CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH IS REQUIRING THE SCHOOLS TO FUND THE $8.2 MILLION REAL ESTATE TAX DECREASE AND HAS SET ASIDE OUR REVENUE-SHARING FORMULA
As your Chief Financial Officer it is my duty to make employees aware of two momentous decisions made by City Council that have the potential to dramatically affect you and the 75,000 students we all serve."
"This means the schools will no longer be guaranteed 53.13 percent of seven revenue streams. (This decision comes at a time when the revenue-sharing formula is proving advantageous to the schools.)"
She added: "City leadership has informed us that they will "revisit the formula" in December.
"It is my understanding that there are some on City Council who feel the formula should be revised downwards because our student membership has declined, despite the pressing need to address the improvement of teaching salaries and building construction/renovation needs that are staggering.
"At a time when the State is providing additional funding and recognizing its need to increase support for public education, the City has chosen to decrease its funding and commitment to education by setting aside the Revenue Sharing Formula.
"Because this news is of such fiscal significance to the schools, I advised our School Board members in a written memorandum yesterday which is attached it here for your review. I will make every attempt to keep you updated as events continue to unfold.