Edgecombe schools seek more money


Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

TARBORO — Edgecombe County Public Schools is preparing to ask for a raise from Edgecombe County commissioners to meet the growing needs of students in the school district.

The school board approved a $72,542,724 budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year at Monday night’s school board meeting. The spending plna includes a request of $8,411,905 in operating funds from Edgecombe County commissioners— a $960,287 increase in the amount of local funding given to the school district for current operating expenses during the current fiscal year. 

The increased funding level is needed for a number of reasons, Laurie Leary, chief finance officer for Edgecombe County Public Schools said in her budget presentation. 

“The budget includes a request for additional funding of $960,287 in county appropriation for local funds for anticipated state raises, benefit increases, increases in the cost of local supplements due to state raises and changes in the state salary schedules as well as to maintain operations,” Leary said.

In addition, the school district plans to request $1,005,000 in funding for capital outlay needs for the coming year. This represents a $385,000 increase in funding to cover the third year of the technology refresh for the district, which covers the next step in the cost of Chrome book laptops for students.

Leary said the school district has done its part in trying to cut costs. The 2019-20 budget already includes $588,224 in reductions to local current expenditures.

While the school board has detailed reasons for the increased funding requests, past history indicates that these requests may be ignored. Funding from the county to the school district has remained flat for the past three years and any increases given in the past decade have been only for an increase in supplement pay for teachers and administrators. 

Part of the funding issue has been the decline in Average Daily Membership, the student population figure used by the state to calculate state funding for the school district. In the 2008-09 school year, the school district had 7,218 students and an additional 145 students attended charter schools. The county funded the operating budget for the school district at a rate of nearly $900 a student while the state average per pupil spending was $1,736.

In the 2017-18 school year, by comparison, Edgecombe County Public Schools had 5,927 students enrolled and another 813 were enrolled in charter schools. The county spent roughly $1,100 per student compared to a state average of roughly $2,000 per student. Almost all of that additional spending went toward teacher pay in the form of supplements.

This year, the ADM decreased again, Leary said.

“Our average daily membership used for allotment purposes has decreased by 35 students and that decline in ADM will decrease our state allotments that are based on ADM,” Leary said. 

The Edgecombe County Board of Education is slated to meet with Edgecombe County commissioners on April 29 in order to discuss the budget for the coming year.