Despite technical issues, the Moore County School Board completed its work session Monday, June 1. The meeting, which took place virtually, gave insight – via a presentation by Andrew Cox, executive officer for budget and finance – on projections for county funding and district expenses for the 2020-21 academic year.
Due partially to the COVID-19 situation, specifically the associated economic impact of the crisis, there has been considerable revision of fixed costs. Originally, it was estimated there would more than $2 million in fixed expenses. That number has dropped to $865,000. Reductions have been made relative to the hiring of new teachers, charter school costs and supplemental increases for certified staff, to name a few areas.
The cost of adding an orchestra teacher at North Moore High remains at $70,000.
“Even without salary increases, we continue to see the costs associated with contributions to retirement and hospitalization going up – and going up substantially,” Moore County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Grimesey said. “This has been a pattern that’s been going on for a number of years. These are costs for locally-funded employees, and they are not covered by the state. These are fixed cost increases that do not go away. They happen every single year.”
While the number of students attending charter schools will rise, funding will go down.
In terms of students returning to classes, Grimesey assured board members and the community the district would act quickly once more guidelines are established for the re-opening of schools, closed since the middle of March because of COVID-19.
“We have no control over some of these things, so we have to look at multiple options and come up with multiple plans,” he said. “We’re as ready as we can be. We hope that in the next week to two, we’ll get the kind of guidance we need to be able to start answering those questions for the public.”
Social distancing may change the way a typical school day looks.
“We are just as anxious to get that guidance as a lot of our parents,” Grimesey said.
Prior to the close of the meeting, board members congratulated those retiring as well as students graduating from district high schools in 2020. The board also acknowledged the work done by Grimesey to get county schools through a challenging spring.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.