Kannapolis school board to ask for more local funding

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to seek nearly $1.5 million in additional funding for its local current expense budget, which is split between Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
The board is asking for an increase of $336,670 in its allotment from Rowan County. The district received more than $1.9 million from the county this fiscal year.
The budget request includes an allotment of more than $7.6 million from Cabarrus County, up by about $1.1 million.
About $45,600 of the additional dollars that would go toward the state’s mandated retirement and insurance rate increase for local employees.
The rest of the extra funds, nearly $1.4 million, make up the district’s expansion budget, which includes the following:
• $55,972 for a dance teacher at A.L. Brown High School;
• $250,956 to hire guidance counselors at Kannapolis Middle, Kannapolis Intermediate, Shady Brook Elementary and Fred L. Wilson Elementary;
• $250,000 to hire about 19 full-time bus drivers;
• $565,317 to hire about 10 additional teachers;
• $195,902 to pay for two full-time and one part-time technology facilitator as well as one media specialist; and
• $100,000 for local support of Head Start.
Will Crabtree, the district’s director of business operations, said hiring the full-time bus drivers would allow teacher assistants, who are currently driving buses between four and five hours each day, to get back into the classrooms.
He said the additional teaching positions would help keep class sizes at or below the state-mandated levels.
• • •
The school board also approved the capital outlay request for a total of $861,700.
That would equate to about double the allotted $84,200 it received from Rowan County this fiscal year and more than 10 times the $50,000 amount appropriated by Cabarrus.
The capital budget includes nearly $294,000 in instructional technology tools such as interactive white boards, 50 iPads for staff at A.L. Brown High and nearly 250 computers, a mixture of desktops and laptops, district-wide.
About $280,000 would be spent on technology infrastructure.
Nearly $35,000 would go toward the purchase of about 130 student and teacher desks at Kannapolis Intermediate and 13 kitchen sets for students at McKnight Child Development Center.
It also includes $240,000 to buy three driver education cars for a total of $60,000 and two school buses at $90,000 a piece.
“Our ridership just continues to increase and I don’t see that changing, I actually see it getting worse with the economy,” Crabtree said. “We really need two more buses, especially at the intermediate and middle schools levels because we’re using every bus we have right now.”
Crabtree said he’s “hopeful” the capital budget will be approved, despite the hefty increase in alloted requests.
“I think it’s important that we let the (county commissioners) know that $821,700 is a one time request,” he said.
Crabtree has also pointed out that Cabarrus County has allocated $50,000 for capital projects for the past three years. Last year that equated to 4 percent of the county’s capital appropriations, with the remaining 96 percent going to Cabarrus County Schools, despite the fact that 12 percent of the county’s students attend school in Kannapolis.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
Twitter: twitter.com/posteducation
Facebook: facebook.com/Sarah.SalisburyPost