School board approves proposed budget

The Moore County Board of Education approved the proposed $166,569,760 budget for the 2024-2025 school year at the April 15 agenda meeting. The board will present the proposed budget to county commissioners on May 7.

To save money, Tina Edmonds, assistant superintendent for Budget and Finance, said the budget froze vacant positions, including two digital integration facilitators, a curriculum specialist, and an assistant director of communications, to save $340,000. It froze increases for supplies, materials, and equipment. For local technology expenses, the New Federal Rural Grant was applied for a total of $632,800 in budget efficiencies.

Chair Robert Levy said teachers need digital integration facilitators, and the positions will reopen in later years.

Member David Hensley said there may be nesting of the fund balance because when the $2.6 million used from the fund balance was (hypothetically) removed from the local funding, which the county commissioners supplied, there is zero growth, not 3% growth as indicated in the proposed budget.

“One hundred percent of what we get this year [from county commissioners] is used to fill the gap from what we used last year,” Hensley said about the fund balance and the student enrollment increase of 67 students over ten years.

In a graph Hensley presented, pre-COVID student spending was $10,000. During COVID, it was $14,466, and the 2024-2025 proposed budget allocated $12,943.

Levy said the fund balance reflected inflation.

The General Assembly may allow pay increases, impacting the final budget due in October.

In other business, the board voted that Moore County Schools will follow state calendar laws under a traditional school year.

Schools begin no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and end no later than the Friday closest to June 11 unless weather-related changes are approved. The school year requires 185 days of instruction.

Teachers have 10 vacation days and nine workdays. The board will approve teacher workdays, which may be used as vacation leave.

The Board of Education attorney, Richard Schwartz, announced a lawsuit settlement between the board and the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, resulting in $30,500 for schools and $4,500 for attorney fees. Schwartz said a problem with bail bonds in the Moore County Clerk of Court’s office stemmed from clerks on leave of absence. Bond forfeitures, which are directed to the school system fund, had not been properly distributed due to lack of notice.

To watch the meeting video on other topics discussed by the school board, please click here.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Stephanie is also an English instructor at Central Carolina Community College and Father Vincent Capodanno High School. She is the author of young adult fiction, including When the Yellow Slugs Sing, Sky’s River Stone, and GUTTERSNIPE: Shakespearean Stage Play with Translation.

~File photo by Sandhills Sentinel photographer Melissa Schaub. 

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