County says it can’t meet school system’s budget request

  • Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 6:13 p.m.

SALISBURY — Rowan County can’t afford to give the school system a $4.6 million funding increase, county commissioners said Monday.

Representatives from the Rowan-Salisbury School System presented its 2013-14 budget request Monday afternoon to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

The school system is requesting a total of $36.4 million from the county for its operational budget, up from the $31.8 million allocated in 2012-13.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education has agreed to add $1 million that it will take out of its fund balance, increasing its local budget by $5.6 million.

Commissioners didn’t vote on the request Monday, but they did ask questions and make comments.

A majority agreed that the county cannot make up for state and federal funding cuts. They said according to state law, the state should be funding the operational expenses of the schools, and the county should be funding capital expenses like buildings and equipment.

Tara Trexler, chief finance officer for the school system, said the system is expected to face a $4.8 million deficit because of state cuts, expiring federal grant money and other expenses. Another $800,000 would save five federal grant-funded positions and pay for safety-related expansion items.

Essentially, those responsibilities have now flipped around.

Commissioners Chairman Jim Sides said the only way the county could meet the school system’s request is by raising taxes, and he advised school system staff to “sharpen your pencils” and start making cuts.

Read Tuesday’s Salisbury Post for more information.

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