Kannapolis school board votes on $1.3M in cuts

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 31, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis Board of Education voted Monday on nearly $1.3 million in cuts to the fiscal year 2012-13 budget mandated by state legislators.
Will Crabtree, the district’s director of business operations, said that figure is down from about $1.5 million last year and lower than the anticipated $1.7 million shortfall.
The district will return $75,288 originally allotted for textbooks and $400,233 for classroom materials.
“We have plenty of carry over in the textbook account so that was an easy one to send back,” Crabtree said.
Seven teaching positions worth $393,113 and $800,000 in teacher assistant hours will also be nixed.
Those positions and hours will be covered by local or federal funds, Crabtree said.
“Nobody will lose their jobs,” he said. “We’re just carrying forward what we did last year.”
The district eliminated 49 teacher assistants and 19 teachers last year, some of which were brought back.
School board member Todd Adams applauded Crabtree for his efforts to avoid layoffs.
“(Chairwoman) Danita (Rickard) and I recently were in Raleigh and some school systems thought that the sky was falling,” he said. “The foresight you put into our budget is paying off today.”
Board member Charles Mitchell agreed.
“I think Will is one of the most efficient, well-organized finance directors I’ve ever worked with and I’ve works with some big companies,” he said.
Superintendent Dr. Pam Cain thanked the board for making hard decisions last year so that the hit would be less severe this year.
“We’re in a good place,” she said.
Crabtree had some more good news for the board.
The district has already begun hiring full-time bus drivers, which will take the burden off teacher assistants who currently fill those roles.
Crabtree has said some teacher assistants were outside the classroom for four or five hours a day while they were on the road.
“I feel like we can adequately fund that and I think it’s just the best thing for instruction,” he said. “I can’t promise that we’ll have all the positions filled by the start of school, but we’ll have 80 to 90 percent.”
The fiscal year spending plan adopted by the board Monday tops $46.2 million.
It includes a capital outlay appropriation of $211,299 made up of $100,000 from Cabarrus County, $91,299 from Rowan County an $20,000 from the district’s fund balance.
Between $60 and $70,000 of that will go toward the purchase of new driver’s education cars.
Crabtree said all four of the current cars need to be replaced.
“We’re limping along right now,” he said.
The cars can be purchased from a local dealer as long as they agree to meet state contract prices, Crabtree said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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