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School board adopts continuing budget

By Sarah Campbell
scampbell@salisburypost.com
EAST SPENCER — The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education adopted a continuing budget Thursday.
Chief Financial Officer Tara Trexler said the measure was necessary to continue legally operating while she awaits final figures from the state and federal government.
The school system is facing a $5.2 million state deficit along with $5.8 million in discretionary cuts from the state.
Rowan County Commissioners also cut funding to the district by $1 million.
The increase in the state retirement rate to 13 percent will also cost the school system an additional $205,000 in 2011-12.
The district will use its $4.2 million chunk in federal Education Jobs money to help with the shortfall.
Trexler said the school system will nix $250,000 from the central office by freezing or cutting positions.
No classroom layoffs will be made due to budget constraints, but Trexler said some cuts have been made due to drops in enrollment.
“That would occur regardless of our funding situation,” she said.
Although the state budget eliminates funding for mentor pay, professional development and technology, Trexler said the district can use $411,000 in Race to the Top funds for those line items.
The district will receive more than $1.1 million from the state to decrease class size in kindergarten through third grades. Trexler said that equates to about 15 teaching positions.
“While the legislature is saying to us that they gave us more classroom money, don’t forget that’s after they told us to give back $5.8 million,” school board member Richard Miller said.
Trexler said if the board decides to tap $2 million from its fund balance, no additional cuts will have to be made.
The school board voted unanimously in May to dip into the fund balance to protect the classroom.
Trexler said she’s waiting for information about how the lift on the charter school cap will affect the district’s budget.
She said changes to the North Carolina Virtual Public Schools funding formula and the More at Four allocation are also still unknown factors.
“If something changes we are going ot have to go back and restructure our budget,” Trexler said.
Trexler will bring a final budget resolution to the board for a vote during the August meeting.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

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