An Inside Look At Yorktown’s Budget

An Inside Look At Yorktowns Budget

The source of funds for Yorktown’s budget can be traced to local and state government revenue. Our school’s individual budget is separated among multiple categories including staff wages, textbooks, supplies and student involvement in the school, such as sports. Principal Dr. Kevin Clark is in charge of managing the budget.

“The state has a formula which determines the percentage the school district is able to pay and then provides funding to schools. So, for example, Arlington is locally funded by about 85 percent [and] state funded by probably 15 percent,” Clark said.

Composing the budget is not an overnight process.

“The APS budget process starts about now and then culminates in May with approval from the school board, so the superintendent right now puts out budget priorities and then develops a budget which typically builds on last year’s budget and then goes through a round of feedback from the community and then approval by the school board,” Clark said.

The budget also determines staffing at our school.

“School budgets are determined by basically how many students go to that school. So schools receive funding based on certain formulas for staffing,” Clark said.

The state provides something called Standards of Quality (SOQs), which specifies guidelines for schools regarding staffing.

“[A SOQ] is a Virginia state budget guidance document that tells us which ratios we’re allowed to follow, how many counselors per student, the assistant principals, librarians. All of that is in the SOQ, so we get funding for various positions based on the Standards of Quality,” Clark said.

About 80-to-85 percent of the budget contributes to staff wages.

“We do have what’s called the school activity fund which basically through APS’s budget [accounts], there’s funding for coaches and activities for stipends like department chair and stuff like that,” Clark said.

Following staffing, the next largest expenditure of the APS budget is classroom supplies like textbooks. The remaining sector of the budget accounts for various categories like sports equipment and uniforms, art supplies, theater and other student interests.

For the athletic department, the cost varies season to season depending if new uniforms and equipment are needed for a sport.

“It really does depend on the sport and there’s certain pieces of equipment that makes certain sports exceptionally expensive, but you don’t have to buy it every year … while you have to provide football helmets every year, you don’t have to provide wrestling mats every year, but when you do have to provide them the cost is amazingly high,” Director of Student Activities Michael Krulfeld said.

However, it does not appear that every department receives equal funding. Due to the size of our school, certain necessities tend to slip between the cracks. Monica Stroik, one of our school’s art teachers, provided insight about the funding for the Arts Department.

“A lot of the furniture you see in this room is from the dumpster outside. It depends on the year and the principal’s budget, but we’ve been asking for years for better tables and we have been pulling them out of the trash. Most of these are [old] Chemistry tables,” Stroik said.

In the Arts Department, a significant portion of the supplies are funded by students through encouraged lab fees.

“Most of our supplies, I would say at least 60 percent comes from students’ lab fees. That pays for all of the art supplies in our classrooms from clay to paint to paper. All of it,” Stroik said.

Our school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) participates in a number of fundraising events to support as many student interests as possible, especially those that receive less funding from the budget.

Stroik applied and was approved for the PTA Grant.

“The PTA sets aside an amount each year, and they try to spread it to many different teachers, so it’s like dozens, not two or three.… This would be the classroom teacher that doesn’t have the same access to funds as perhaps an athletic team does,” Krulfeld said.

Arlington is a well-funded area. Even so, not every corner of our school will be fully funded every year. Regardless of grants and funds, it seems that there is always going to be an encouraged fee or bake sale in the atrium to fill in the gaps at the end of the season.

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