Schools share breakdown of how taxpayer dollars are spent

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
For county taxpayers who have wondered how the Rowan-Salisbury School System spends local tax dollars, school officials have provided a snapshot.
A big chunk of the $32.5 million goes for staff ó teachers, assistant principals, media specialists, teacher assistants and the school system’s finance director. A total of $9.7 million will go for personnel in the current budget.
Millions of dollars more go for supplements, retirement and additional employee-related costs.
Utilities account for $4.3 million, with gas and diesel fuel adding up to nearly $700,000.
Rowan-Salisbury Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom provided the breakdown to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners at its recent planning retreat.
Commissioners had asked for the breakdown to get a better understanding of how local dollars are spent.
Grissom repeatedly stressed the snapshot was for one day in the budget year ó Jan. 27 ó and the various columns would change almost daily.
As with other school systems, Rowan-Salisbury puts more experienced teachers with higher academic qualifications on the state payroll.
New hires just out of college ó who make less ó are paid with county dollars.
Grissom said the swapping of personnel between payrolls continues throughout the year to maximize county dollars.
The state sets an allotment of personnel and pays according to experience and qualifications.
“We use state money first,” Grissom told commissioners.
State funds can’t be used to pay for utilities, local supplements, maintenance personnel and a host of other things.
Grissom expressed her appreciation for the county’s funding the system at the state average for two years. But she said that hasn’t been enough to affect academic achievement.
“It will take more than two years of state average … after years of underfunding,” she said.
Grissom also noted the success of school system staff in getting $7.5 million in grants over the past three years.
For the current budget year, the county appropriated $1,565 for each student in the Rowan-Salisbury and Kannapolis school systems.
The county appropriation is 19 percent of the total school system budget of $168.5 million.
Here is the breakdown provided by school Rowan-Salisbury officials of how county funding is used (rounded to nearest thousand):
– Salaries ó $9,722,000;
– Other expenditures ó $22,819,000.
The “other expenditures” include:
– Utilities ó $4,281,000
– Supplements ó $4,266,000
– Supplies and materials ó$2,643,000
– Health insurance ó $1,367,000
– FCIA match ó $1,248,000
– Retirement match ó $1,240,000
– Substitute pay ó $1,115,000
– Insurance (property, workers’ compensation, liability) ó $1,051,000
– Contracted services (auditing, attorney, accounting, technology, etc.) ó $975,000
– Equipment and furniture ó $863,000
– Telecommunications services ó $722,000
– Gasoline and diesel fuel ó $692,000
– Office operations (copier, telephone, postage, etc.) ó$426,000
– Workshop expenses ó $364,000
– Athletic costs ó $351,000
– Travel reimbursement ó $288,000
– Differentials ó$176,000
– Membership dues and fees ó $91,000
– Rental leases ó $89,500
– Longevity pay ó $88,000
– Library books ó $69,000
– Stipends ó$56,000
– Terminated employee payout ó $54,000
– Textbooks ó $50,000
– Field trips ó $45,000
– Homebound tutor pay ó $43,000
– Teacher mentors ó$29,000
– Short-term disability ó $23,000
– Band costs ó $23,000
– Board of Education members ó$18,000
– Tuition fees ó $18,000
– Unemployment compensation expense ó $13,000
– Bus driver pay ó $13,000
– Computer instruction for summer school teachers ó $12,000
– Public transportation ó $9,000
– Curriculum development ó $8,000
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.