GCPS Finance Professional Earns VA Contracting Certification

Please join me in congratulating Robin Powers, GCPS Accounting Technician, who recently completed all certification requirements through the VA Institute of Procurement to become a Virginia Contracting Associate. The certification requires a rigorous program of classroom instruction and a comprehensive exam.

Through this certification Robin has demonstrated an exemplary knowledge of procurement law, regulation and policy and has positioned GCPS to reach even higher levels of excellence in purchasing.

We applaud Mrs. Powers, pictured below with GCPS Director of Finance, Debbie White, for her commitment to excellence in public purchasing!

Robin Powers, left, with Debbie White.


The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) is pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, Goochland County Public Schools has received the prestigious Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its budget. This national Award represents the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting.

“The school board remains committed to fiscal transparency,” remarked superintendent James Lane. “A clear, accessible process of budget development and accounting throughout the year is tantamount to the goals of our strategic plan.”

For her primary responsibility and diligence in development and presentation of the school budget, Deborah White, Finance Director, also received a Certificate of Recognition. “Mrs. White continues to lead the budget development process with excellence,” said Lane. “We can confidently assure our community that the school division is handling funds with utmost responsibility and efficiency.”

Left to right: Kevin Hazzard, John Wright, James Lane, Debbie. White, Michael Payne, John Lumpkins, Beth Hardy.

GCPS satisfied 14 nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications tool. During the last budget cycle, the school board placed special emphasis on transparency by putting a greater focus on past actual expenditures, community engagement in the process, and sharing all documents with the public.  The school board held a public hearing and a town-hall style workshop to get feedback in the development of the budget.

“Our board’s leadership continues to be characterized by transparency and fiscal responsibility,” said board chair John Lumpkins. “We applaud Mrs. White and the school administration for this recognition and for the exemplary work it represents.”

The Goochland County Public School Board is considered to have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

The Government Finance Officers Association is a nonprofit professional association serving over 17,800 government finance professionals throughout North America. The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

Board Provides Science Equipment to GMS Students

You might recall that part of last year’s budget process involved the board’s consideration of funding some much-needed science lab equipment for Goochland Middle School. The school, when originally designed, had included some specific equipment needs that had been unfunded in past years.

The board supported these equipment requests last year, bringing the middle school science labs to full functionality. The result: our middle school students are able to realize the full capabilities of these modern labs and maximize their learning.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the fruit of the board’s support in action, below. GMS teacher, Carolyn Elliott, shared an experiment in the physical science chemistry lab on exothermic and endothermic reactions. They used the electronic scales, thermometers, graduated cylinders and lots of beakers for three different chemical reactions:

GMS students using new equipment in Ms. Elliott's science lab.

School Board Funding for Additional Science Equipment Impacting Instruction at GMS

I’m delighted to share that the new science equipment, provided by the school board’s deliberate appointment of funds in this regard during last year’s budget development, is bringing lab work to life at Goochland Middle School. Thank you to GMS teacher Carolyn Elliott for providing these snapshots of the engaging work being accomplished with the new materials.

School Board Approves Stipends for Middle School Athletics

During its regularly scheduled meeting on September 13th, the school board voted to increase middle school coaching stipends and approved a first-ever supplement for the middle school athletic director. The coaching stipends have been stuck at $500, considerably lower than regional counterparts currently offer. The board raised those stipends to $1,000 each.

“This is much more suitable considering the work and the time these coaches pour into our students,” said superintendent, James Lane.

The middle school athletic director has never received any additional stipend, but will begin this year receiving $2,500. ”I’m grateful to the board for their support and believe this to be absolutely appropriate,” Dr. lane added.

Superintendent Meets with the Operations Department

I’m thankful for Dr. Lane taking time this afternoon to meet personally with members of the operations team to fully explain recent budget decisions and changes to the health care premiums. Despite a 12% increase to our health care rates, almost all employees will see more take-home pay next year due to the Board offsetting the increase by 7% and providing all staff with a 2% raise.

Dr. Lane meets with drivers, cafeteria and maintenance staff at Goochland High School.

Budget Workshop

Last night’s budget workshop was a positive departure from past practice.  From the format of the meeting to the delivery of information from key stakeholders (principals), the new budget software, and finally, the positive interaction between our school board and our new superintendent, Dr. Lane, and our new director of finance, Ms. Deborah White, this evening workshop demonstrated the new day in GCPS.

While we remain in a flat funding mode which requires more belt tightening as there are naturally some increased costs and needs, the thrust is positive and the outlook clearly toward continued improvement in student achievement and academic progress.

One area that Mr. Lumpkins highlighted after the breakout session with the secondary budget is the need for more science equipment and supplies.  While apparently, there is no possible way to meet the total need in this year’s budget, there is clearly an understanding of the necessities.  The knowledge of our school board on our needs is based on the transparency of reviewing our budget line-by-line and by providing more staff involvement in the process.

Working Tuesday nights in January to get constructive involvement in budget building can be difficult; however, last night confirmed support for the dynamic energy and hard work of our team.  Our GMS principal, Johnette Burdette, and our new GHS principal, Mike Newman, made crystal clear presentations on their school budgets.  Thanks … school board and Dr. Lane for making this all possible.

Of course, the budget is not the only way to meet our needs.  An announcement this week at GHS demonstrates the creative way our teachers work.

Kelli Bratton has received grant funding from the Math Science Center.  She will be purchasing supplies to help our science department incorporate nanoscience and technology into our curriculum.  Congratulations, Ms. Bratton!