Board of Education discusses questionable books

The Moore County School Board held a budget discussion at its Sept. 6 work session.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Locklair said after two months of budget discussion, county commissioners approved $4.1 million for school funding.

Under the recommended budget, employees earning an hourly wage less than $15 will earn $15. Those already earning $15 will receive an increase from 2.5% up to 4%, maximizing at $38. Certified teacher salaries are on a scale to increase up to 4.2%.

Board member Libby Carter said they still need to hire 50 certified teachers to reduce class sizes, and she does not know how it will happen because the salaries come from the non-recurring fund balance, which will have about $1.4 million left after the counselor and non-certified salary increases.

Member Robert Levy said the fund balance was recurring, that it comes from county commissioners, but the exact amount is unknown from year to year.

Andrew Cox, who was the Moore County executive officer for budget and finance and is now the Harnett County Assistant Superintendent, assisted with the salary budget. Cox said he built the salary scale using the integrity of the 2016 analysis by Piedmont Triad Counsel.

A budget priority was establishing Connect! Virtual Academy as a stand-alone school. The current expense of $1.3 million for this priority comes from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER)II.

Member David Hensley asked Locklair why a counselor was needed for Crain’s Creek Middle School at an estimated cost of $80,500.

Locklair said it was because the enrollment increased over 200.

Levy asked why a Southern Middle School counselor was not sent to Crain’s Creek Middle School, since the 200 new students came from Southern Middle School.

Locklair said that they need to support Crain’s Creek Middle School’s population increase.

The board will review and vote on the salary budget at the Sept. 12 regular meeting.

Executive Director of Operations John Birath presented a review of capital projects and said they were under four funding sources, including the North Carolina Educational Lottery, county outlay, sale of property, and ESSER, which totals $22.5 million.

There are eight projects that had been deleted from the original list, which Birath recommended be reintroduced.

The projects are replacing the HVAC system in the central office at $221,000, updating the HVAC system at Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School at $425,000, renovating lockers, plumbing, floors, walls, ductwork and HVAC, lighting and ceilings at Pinecrest High School at $899,500. Union Pines High School needs a gym renovation at $980,000. West End Elementary School needs air systems and ductwork at $638,500. Pinecrest High School needs pavers in the courtyard at $56,000. New Century Middle School needs a hot water boiler at $56,000, and Cameron Elementary School needs HVAC systems, and updated electrical, lighting, ceiling, floors, partitions, and windows, and asbestos removed at $543,000.

A list of the approved 58 projects may be viewed here. 

The board will vote on using capital outlay and lottery funds for the eight projects at the Sept. 12 regular meeting.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

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