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Edgecombe board eyes school budget proposal

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education met with Edgecombe County commissioners Monday night at the East Carolina Agriculture and Education Center to discuss budget matters for the coming fiscal year.

Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans gave a “state of the county” presentation at the meeting, which was the same as the presentation he gave to the Edgecombe County Board of Education. In the presentation, Evans outlined several fiscal challenges facing the county including the cost of buying the property for economic development, capital projects for county facilities, growing needs of other outside agencies and recruitment and retention of county employees.

However, Evans said that education remains a top priority for the county, especially considering the new industries coming to Edgecombe County in the next few years.

“The only way to turn the page for Edgecombe County is to invest in education,” Evans said.

Shelton Jefferies, superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, and Sheila Wallace, interim chief financial officer for the school district, also presented much the same budget presentation as they did to Nash County commissioners on April 30. — except that many of the numbers in the budget differed from the April 30 presentation, including some figures showing the amount of money spent in some categories as of April 1 and many proposed budget figures for the coming year.

The new budget presentation is attached to this story.

The budget presented to Edgecombe County commissioners on Monday night anticipates $23,555,849 in total current expense revenues including $2,188,320 from Edgecombe County and $40,000 from Edgecombe County fines and forfeitures. Funds anticipated from other entities include $20,500,261 from Nash County, $427,268 from Rocky Mount and $400,000 from Nash County fines and forfeitures. 

In the budget presented to Nash County commissioners, county expectations remain the same for the current expense budget, but the amount budgeted from the city of Rocky Mount was $417,038, more than $10,000 less than the budget presented Monday.

The capital outlay budget differs as well. On Monday’s budget presented to Edgecombe County commissioners, the proposal is for Edgecombe County to pay $178,226 in capital funds for the 2019-20 school year, an increase or more than $8,000 from the $170,369 Edgecombe County paid in the current fiscal year. In the budget presented to Nash County commissioners on April 30, Edgecombe County’s portion of the 2019-20 capital budget was $145,000.

These changes were not mentioned at Monday night’s meeting. However, Edgecombe County Commissioner Viola Harris questioned why Edgecombe County’s portion of the capital funding had increased $8,000 from last year when Nash County’s portion did not. She also wanted to know how much of the planned capital expenditures were budgeted for repairs or upgrades to schools located in Edgecombe County.

Jefferies said the school district would get back to county commissioners with that information.

These meetings between Edgecombe County commissioners and the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools are held each year in partial fulfillment of a state law designed to prevent the division of the Nash-Rocky Mount school district along county lines. Under that legislation, this will be the last budget that includes income from the city of Rocky Mount.

Payments from Edgecombe County to Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools are to be based on the number of students living in Edgecombe County and attending Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools because the city of Rocky Mount is split across two districts.

The 2019-20 budget presented to Edgecombe County commissioners is based on 1,670 Edgecombe County students attending Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, according to revised budget calculations presented at the meeting and attached to this story.

Edgecoombe County commissioners will need to vote on the budget appropriations to Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools by July 1.

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