The Manassas City Public Schools have a $106 million budget to hand to City Council, with school board members celebrating the administration's zero-based approach.
Board chairman Scott Albrecht called the results "fundamental change" for the district that focuses on student achievement. "I applaud the work that has been done," he said.
Board member Ellen Purdy was skeptical of some capital improvements included in the budget. But even Purdy welcomed a new salary structure and a new program for preventative maintenance. "Those are examples of very effective financial management," she said.
The board approved the budget unanimously with a 7-0 vote. The budget will be presented on April 2 to the City Council for consideration.
Capital Improvement Plan
Purdy suggested there should be more conversation on the need for a new large elementary school replacing Baldwin Elementary. She pointed out that the proposed school will make room for 600 students, when only half that number may actually materialize.
"There's room for maneuvering there," she said. "We can still satisfy our challenges."
There was a fiery response from board member Pamela Sebesky, who said the city and school infrastructure is deteriorating.
"The items on the CIP are not frivolous items," she said. "Our children and our community are worth this investment."
Albrecht said he's heard many times before that the district wouldn't need more schools — and that logic hasn't panned out.
"We're not a city with McMansions and kids off at college," he said. "We're a working-class city with kids that go to elementary school."
The Capital Improvement Plan was approved 6-1, with Purdy opposing.