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Preliminary budget presented to Dare school board

At an early afternoon workshop, a preliminary budget was presented to Dare County’s Board of Education.

The overall budget increases 2.86 percent over the current fiscal year and calls for an operating budget of $61,367,348, with Dare County contributing $23,230,417 or 38 percent.

Dare County also contributes capital outlay funds, which for next fiscal year is pegged at $715,000, and pays the bill for most school resource officers and school nurses.

The innovative school formula followed by the school board and Board of Commissioners shows a 3.1 percent increase – or $697,447 – for school operating funds personnel costs make up 86 percent of the operating budget. Without a state budget in place, Dare Schools finance director Candy Tilley used these projections to calculate personnel costs: a three percent salary increase for certified and classified staff, health insurance rate increase of 4 percent per employee, and retirement rate change from 18.86 percent to 19.57 percent.

The budget calls for funding 223.5 classroom teachers from state funds and 89.6 teachers from local funds. Classroom teachers total 313.1, some 7.1 positions less than last year.

Tilley also calculated incoming federal funds at 3 percent less that last year.

This preliminary budget is presented by program. One new feature of this budget is the allocation of salary supplements to the program where a teacher’s salary is programmed. Additionally, when the budget by school is available, the salaries for teachers serving multiple schools will be prorated to each school.

Two new programs are highlighted in the preliminary budget. International faculty exchange accounts for salaries for the district’s dual language program in five schools. The budget total is $1,061,776 with just over $991,041 coming from state funds and $70,735 from local funds. This covers the cost for the 14 dual language immersion teachers.

The second new program accounts for the local funds flowing to charter schools. Some 38 students in Dare County attend charter schools. Water’s Edge Village School, a K-8 school in Corolla, has 13 students from Dare County enrolled. Enrolled in virtual charter schools are 25 Dare County students, with eight at NC Virtual Public School and 17 in NC Connections Academy.

The Dare County district is budgeted to transfer $79,290 in local funds to charter schools. State funds also follow the student.

Budgets in several programs were significantly reduced.

Professional development is locally funded. Tilley said in order to balance the budget, no professional development funds were allocated, freeing up $160,000.

The transportation budget was reduced by $220,579 to $1.54 million, which is more in line with expenditures, reported Tilley.

The account for instructional supplies/textbooks/contracts is reduced by $1.34 million, reflecting two computer leases paid off, and only refresh of Chromebooks for 6 and 9 grades. The instructional supply funding for the next year pegs the state at $578,187 and local funds at $1,035,364. This is a 45.46 percent reduction.

School nutrition is funded at $2,136,000, a 4.4 percent reduction. Superintendent John Farrelly said lunch charges are a growing concern. Outstanding bills now total $25,000. In general, the meal debts are in the higher grades, with some high school students owning $300 to $400. A policy study will be undertaken. Farrelly said the district “will feed children.”

The After School Enrichment Program, an enterprise program, expects receipts of $553,790, which includes a $5 fee increase. This is the only fee increase proposed for next year.

The workshop was held at First Flight Middle School at 1:30 p.m., April 9. Six board members were present. Absent was Mary Ellon Balance, who was in Raleigh attending a job-related event.

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