News from the Board -- April 25, 2023

Posted by Jessica Wells on 4/26/2023 1:30:00 PM

 

On Tuesday, April 25, the Onslow County Board of Education held a workshop meeting at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center to discuss the 2023-2024 budget proposal, hear updates on the northeast elementary school project, and hear a presentation on the New River YMCA’s plans for a pool facility in Jacksonville.  

First, Chief Finance Officer Jeff Hollamon presented the proposed local current expense budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The local current expense budget provides funding for salaries, insurance, academic programming, technology, cultural arts, utilities, exceptional children and more. Hollamon said that the total proposed budget for 2023-2024 equals $93.8 million, with $700,000 coming from fines and forfeitures, $8.2 million coming from the appropriated fund balance, $10 million coming from disaster recovery funds, and $74.9 million coming from the county’s tax revenue. Going into the new fiscal year, the superintendent’s budget priorities of instruction, mental health, safety and security will remain the same.    

Budget highlights include additional positions to reduce class sizes, investments in our school counselors and nurses, increases in stipends for mentor teachers, additional professional development opportunities for our staff, as well as additional funding for CTE, EC programs, ESL students, and the OCS PreK program. To address security needs, the budget will also feature emergency response training officer positions, a dedicated K-9 unit, and more.  

To remain within budget and support budgetary priorities, Hollamon said that $2.6 million worth of requests did not make it into the final budget. 

Next on the agenda was a presentation from OCS Chief Operations Officer Brendan Gartner, who discussed the 2023-2024 Capital Outlay Budget. The capital outlay budget covers the district’s expenses related to maintenance, transportation, paving, roofing, furniture, safety and security and more. Dr. Gartner began his presentation by sharing with the Board and executive staff that the age of all OCS facilities ranges from 1934 to 2022. He also shared that the district is responsible for maintaining 520 buildings as well as over 1,500 acres of land. The district’s current assets are valued at more than $828 million.     

Under the current funding agreement with county government, Dr. Gartner said that the district would be receiving $4.8 million for next year’s capital outlay budget. That funding, along with other revenue sources, would bring the district to a total capital outlay budget of $4,827,959.    

This year, Dr. Gartner said the district received over $30 million worth of capital requests from schools and departments across the county. Requests were prioritized by greatest need, requirements by law, instructional and security needs, and the timeline needed. From there, the requests were filtered until there were $4.8 million worth of work to be done. Some highlights of the work to be done with next year’s capital outlay budget include roofing projects, HVAC repairs and replacements, security upgrades, painting three schools, new playgrounds for two schools, and much more.    

On May 2, the Board will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed budget and will vote on the budget later that day. Then, the budget will be sent to the county commissioners for their approval, and the budget will be adopted by the BOE in June.      

After the budget presentation, Dr. Gartner also briefly presented information to the Board regarding the upcoming Northeast Elementary School construction project. He shared that the school would be located in the Deppe Road area in the northeastern part of the county and would have the same design as Richlands, Coastal and Clear View elementary schools. The bidding process to find a contractor for the job will begin soon. 

Last on the agenda was a guest presentation from the New River YMCA. Representatives from the YMCA shared their organization’s vision and proposal for a future aquatics center in Jacksonville. They shared their plans for the public pool facility, saying it would serve our community as a place of water safety training, recreation, athletics, rehabilitation, and more. For the project to become a reality, the YMCA would need buy-in from the local government leaders, including the Jacksonville City Council, the Onslow County Board of Commissioners, and the Onslow County Board of Education. 

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