School board to make budget cuts official

SALISBURY — The school board plans to take a final vote on a budget resolution for 2013-14 at its meeting Monday.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System has been operating under a continuing resolution, which is based on last year’s budget, while it finalizes the budget for the current year.

A budget dispute with Rowan County commissioners has still not been resolved. The board plans to pass a budget according to the last official word from the county, which means no local cuts but also no increase in operational funds.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Monday at 110 S. Long St. in East Spencer.

The 2013-14 budget, which the Board of Education tentatively approved on Aug. 7, cuts more than 80 positions and nearly $4.5 million in operational funding.

The school board had to make up a deficit of $5.015 million, which was largely created by state reductions and expired federal funding.

Its proposed budget cuts teaching positions, including the non-renewal of nearly 50 teachers approved by the school board in May, and increases the class size formula by one. That reduction totals about $3.3 million.

Chief Financial Officer Tara Trexler said at the Aug. 7 meeting that most of the teachers laid off in the spring have been re-employed, whether at Rowan-Salisbury or another school system. She said many were re-hired as vacancies opened up through attrition.

The budget also includes a reduction to instructional supplies by $400,000. The state cut $600,000 for school supplies, but $200,000 of that will be paid with local funds.

The board agreed to take a little over $1.5 million from its fund balance to make up the remaining $525,000 deficit and pay for some additional items.

One of those additional items is $276,000 for middle school resource officers. Board members have said this amount could be used either as a local match for a state grant, or to help pay for officers if the school system is not eligible or approved for the grant.

Also included are seven behavioral intervention specialists. An expiring federal LINKS grant funded 15 of these specialists, who work to help at-risk students with behavior problems.

In addition, the board agreed to pay for additional front office clerical staff in three elementary schools — Millbridge, Rockwell and Shive — that have had enrollment increases.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Rowan-Salisbury school board plans to:

• Hear a presentation by Nathan Currie and Sgt. Bob Prince about the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program that will be implemented this school year.

• Consider field trip requests from West, South, Carson and East Rowan high schools. The FFA groups at these schools want to send students to the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. The students would leave Oct. 28 and return on Nov. 1 or 2.

• Consider approval of the Rowan County Rescue Services annual contract.

• Consider approval of annual YMCA usage agreement.

• Meet in closed session to discuss student transfers and the personnel report.

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