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News from the Board -- May 22, 2019

 

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, the Onslow County Board of Education held a special workshop meeting to discuss the FY2019-2020 capital outlay and local current expense budget proposals.  

The purpose of the meeting, according to Board Chair Pam Thomas, was to review the BOE’s current proposed budget request and consider ways to amend it if necessary. Superintendent Barry Collins started the meeting by saying that he and his staff wanted to update the Board on the discussions they heard about the budget at the Board of Commissioners meeting on May 13.  

In the May 13 commissioners meeting, Dr. Collins said the county manager’s initial budget recommendation to the commissioners included a $1.5 million increase for Onslow County Schools. The BOE had requested a total increase of $5.3 million, including $2.3 million for the local current expense budget and $3 million for capital outlay. Of the $2.3 million requested to increase the local current expense budget, $2 million is needed to fund required key cost increases like mandated salary adjustments, insurance premiums and benefits. The rest of the requested local current expense budget expansion would fund programs and positions to support the district's top three priorities for the upcoming fiscal year: mental health, safety/security, and math. The expansion would pay for additional SROs and social workers, a math curriculum expansion,  security systems, a math licensure program for teachers, a suicide prevention program and more. 

With no official documentation from the county, Ms. Thomas said that the Board needed to discuss options based on the unofficial $1.5 million proposed increase presented by the county manager in the commissioners’ May 13 meeting.  

With the unofficial recommendation in mind, Board members and staff discussed the need to work with commissioners to compromise on a number that would work for the county and meet more of the school district’s needs. They also discussed the importance of adequate local funding, as it pays for academic programs, additional teacher and TA positions, and more that creates a better educational experience for the children of Onslow County.  

Board members also reiterated the importance of coming up with a long-term funding solution for the capital outlay program so that the district’s facilities will be better prepared for future storms that may affect the county the way Hurricane Florence did.  

Moving forward, the Board unanimously voted to give OCS staff direction to reach out to county management to negotiate the budget proposal before its expected approval by commissioners in June.