School board members skeptical about Southern Pines offer

At the meeting of the Moore County Board of Education Monday evening, the public was allowed to provide input on next year’s budget that is proposed for $141 million. Superintendent Robert Grimesey said he intends to request an additional $1.1 million for classified staff pay raises. That money is needed for the implementation of a new classified salary schedule, according to school officials.

Classified staff are school employees that do not need certification or licensure for their jobs. Maintenance, custodial, cafeteria, transportation and clerical positions are considered classified staff. 

Also, the 2021-2022 proposed budget has an additional $500,000 to cover local charter schools’ increased enrollment and another $500,000 for other locally funded staff pay raises. 

During the meeting, public comments were strongly in favor of pay raises for classified staff and equally dissatisfied with the per-pupil funding model proposed by board member David Hensley.   

An offer from the Moore County Board of Commissioners that maintained educational funding at 40% of the county budget was not accepted by the board last year, leaving school administrators without a way to tie year-over-year spending increases for school programs and services.

A funding model based on the number of students is thought by some as a way of convincing Moore County Commissioners of increasing the amount of money allocated for education each year.

In his call-in comments during the public hearing, resident Lowell Simon said, “I have no issue with the budget itself. My issue is with the drastic change in methodology.” He went on to cite historical statistics that show per-student spending in North Carolina has not kept up with budget increases in Moore County.

Board member Ed Dennison wanted to clarify what he sees as public perception on per-pupil funding. “What we are looking for is a way that we can determine how much we can expect from the county,” said Dennison. 

Sandhills_Sentinel~ Article by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email