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Schools seek more money from county

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NASHVILLE — Nash County commissioners greeted members of the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education cordially if somewhat skeptically Tuesday night as the two boards met to discuss the school district’s local budget request for the coming fiscal year.

“I hope that the budget request figure I saw in the paper is not accurate,” Robbie Davis, chairman of the Nash County Board of Commissioners, said before the school board presented the budget request to commissioners. 

The Telegram reported Tuesday that the school board planned to ask for an increase of $1,380,979 over Nash County’s current budget for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, which currently is over $20 million per year. The increase was requested because of an estimated $1,245,979 increase in salary and benefits caused by projected increases in salaries of certified and classified personnel at the state level. Another $135,000 increase was requested to protect principals and assistant principals from losing money under the new state-mandate principal salary schedule.

After the presentation, Davis told the Telegram that the figure reported was accurate and that the county commissioners would take it under consideration.

“However, the figure is a lot more than we expected,” Davis said.

During the presentation, Dr. Shelton Jefferies, superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, emphasized that the school district is facing enormous challenges and has cut the budget as much as possible.

“We are beyond trimming the fat — we are cutting into muscle and bone now,” Jefferies said. “I have promised in the past that we would not let these cuts affect the classroom, but I can’t make that promise now.”

If the requested increase is not approved, the school district projects its local revenues from Nash County will be $20,320,261 with another $2,188,320 expected from Edgecombe County, $417,038 expected from Rocky Mount and another $440,000 expected as a resulted of fines and forfeitures in Nash and Edgecombe counties. These total local projected revenues are $23,362,391. However, the school district projects a need for $26,894,054 for current expenses to come from these funds in the coming year.

Overall, the local current expense revenue accounts for roughly 16 percent of the total $143,308,622 in revenues the school district expects to receive from federal, state and local sources in the coming year, according to information presented at the meeting.

County commissioners told the school board they did not have enough information to make a decision and requested hard copies of the power point presentation as well as figures projecting the expected student population in the coming year. Further budget discussions would be held between Jefferies and Nash County Manager Zee Lamb before county commissioners discuss the budget in more detail on April 30, Davis said.

Several school board members left the county commissioners with final pleas to look at overall priorities when making their decision.

“We urge Nash County commissioners to remember that our goal and our responsibility is to educate every child in this district,” said school board member Doneva Chavis-Battle. “Sometimes we get so caught up in budget discussions that we fail to remember that.”

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