Kanawha County BOE approves budget for next fiscal year

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Board of Education has approved it’s budget for fiscal year 2024-25.

The board met Wednesday and passed the current expense budget of $334,675,657. Also, the Public Library Excess Levy Fund was approved in the amount of $3,350,017, the debt service fund which is $0, the Permanent Improvement Fund in the amount of $10,000,000 and the Special Revenue Fund for $55,551,712.

Kanawha County Board of Education Treasurer Melanie Meadows said the budget includes a little bit more than the one in the current fiscal year which ends June 30.

“It’s slightly higher than the one in place for the current year simply due to the legislative pay raise and PEIA increase that the Legislature passed,” Meadows said.

A majority of the budget is for personnel and the buildings. 76% of the budget goes towards that while the next highest chunk of the budget covers maintenance at 13%.

Meadows said ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds will expire in November this year. There will still be some moves made to pay off bills and projects in this current school year.

“You won’t see any ESSER funds in our proposed budget for next year because we have everything obligated,” said Meadows.

The decline in student population in Kanawha County is affecting the budget too. Meadows said they had to factor in about $3 million in lost funding into their budget based on the loss of students and the letting go of some staff positions that followed.

“We did have to make some staffing cuts to fill in for the loss of student enrollment,” she said.

According to Meadows, the county lost funding for the 72 total positions that were cut. The closing of three schools in the county at the end of this school year make up 20 of those positions.

Trends continue to show a downward one. Since 2015, the county has continuously lost students and that has Meadows and the board always looking ahead to what future budgets could be.

“We consider every year that we’re likely going to have to make staffing cuts and look at our facilities to keep operating with the revenue that we receive,” said Meadows.

The next fiscal year begins July 1, 2024.

Incumbent members Ric Cavender, Jim Crawford and Kate White were all reelected to the board after Tuesday’s primary election.