Schools will not seek local fund increase
By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will not ask Rowan County commissioners to provide additional funds to offset an anticipated state budget gap of at least $10 million.
Instead, they will request the same appropriation as last year, about $33.1 million.
Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom said though the $4.2 million in federal Education Jobs fund money will help narrow the deficit, the school system will still have to make cuts and tap into its fund balance.
Tara Trexler, the school system’s chief financial officer, said state cuts could be deeper than $10 million.
“We know we’re going to be cut, we just don’t know how much,” she said.
The school system cut 137 positions in 2009-10. Three central office slots were frozen and 2.5 assistant principal positions were cut this year.
Elementary school field trips and hiring incentives for exceptional children, math and science teachers were also eliminated this year.
Tuition reimbursement, textbooks, school remediation and out of state travel costs were all reduced the previous year.
Rowan County Manager Gary Page has recommended a $1 million funding reduction in the county’s allocation to the school system for the upcoming fiscal year to help the county balance its budget.
School board member Bryce Beard said he’d like to see the county step up and support the school district.
“It’s impossible to have any control over what the state or federal government does,” he said. “We are left to deal with this ourselves as a community and I would ask the county commissioners to stand shoulder to shoulder with us.
“I say they stand up and say we’re not going to be the federal and state government because these are our children in Rowan County.”
School board member Jean Kennedy echoed Beard’s comments.
“It bothers me how we equate the education of our children to dollars and cents,” she said. “We can’t just look at everything in terms of price.”
Information about the upcoming year’s budget outlook, including budget scenarios and presentations made at prior budget work sessions, is now available on the school system’s website at www.rss.k12.nc.us.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.