City of Danville Public Schools: Multi-Year Financial Planning

Report National Resource Network Danville, Virginia January 23, 2019 Finance + Operation

In 2018, the City of Danville amended their project scope to assist Danville Public Schools (DPS) with multi-year financial planning. The Network agreed to this expanded scope based on the financial relationship between the City and the District and the City Council’s commitment and stated goal to improve public education. The Network recommended the District develop a five-year financial plan aligned with the City’s plan to give City and District leaders the tools to make sound decisions. The Network emphasized a need to think strategically on how to effect change in the District’s focus areas while maintaining or increasing the level of services and support to DPS staff, students, and families.

DPS has faced increasing challenges over the last several years, including increased poverty and reduced enrollment; as a result of the District’s enrollment challenges, state funding has been growing more slowly than it has historically.

The Plan identifies a path to fiscal stability and continued academic improvement and provides specific alternatives for a financial turnaround that can be accompanied by academic growth. The Plan recommends that DPS focus on helping those students who are truant, suspended, and at risk for dropping out, and integrating more expansive magnet and career programs. However, even with more aid from the City, DPS will have to make hard choices. The City does not have unlimited funds. This Plan recommends additional City aid, but also recommends targeting DPS spending to the most critical areas while making selected reductions in others.

Two key elements of the DPS Plan are:

  • A formal compact between the City and the Schools encompassing the City’s ongoing financial commitment and the School Division’s performance goals and metrics.
  • An intense focus on halting the decline in enrollment to preserve state funding and better serve students. The decline, recently around 100 students per year, should be limited to 50 students in 2019-20 and eliminated completely thereafter.

This portion of the Network’s engagement in Danville was led by consortium member PFM. Learn more about the Network’s other two projects in Danville, a five-year financial plan for the city and the creation of a Community Development Corporation.

City of Danville Public Schools: Multi-Year Financial Planning