With department budgets due to be submitted to Macon County Manager Derek Roland by April 15, the Macon County Board of Education approved the 2016-17 draft budget. The budget approved by school board members includes $9,934,852.33 for the local expense portion of the budget. Of the $9,934,852.33 identified in the local expense budget, $7,338,330 is the county appropriation.
Macon County Schools Finance Director Angie Cook informed board members that the majority of the draft budget was the same as the current school year, although a few changes were included.
“In the proposed budget we added funding for 1.5 English as a Second Language Teacher and funding for one maintenance position,” said Cook. “We also increased the county supplement by $9,175 due to proposed salary/benefit increases from the state.”
In addition to the county supplement adjustment, Cook informed board members that the budget also reflects additional recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Instruction (DPI). Each year, DPI makes recommendations for local districts based on changes being anticipated in the legislature. For the coming year, the proposed budget reflects a three percent salary increase, an .11 percent increase for retirement matching and an additional 3.5 percent for hospitalization, all suggestions made by DPI to help local districts prepare for the state budget allocation.
The proposed budget also includes an increase of $13,500 for athletic supplements throughout the school district. The $13,500 includes $1,920 for assistant coaches at Macon Middle School, $1,000 for the Macon Middle School Athletic Director, $3,280 for coaches on the middle school level at Nantahala School, $940 for assistant coaches at Highlands School, $2,000 for soccer coaches on the varsity level at Highlands school, $750 for the Franklin High School football coach, and $1,000 for the assistant coaches at FHS. The addition also includes $833 for FICA and $1,680 for retirement.
The Macon County Board of Education approved the budget and voted to send it to Roland for consideration. Members of the school board will have the chance to present the budget to county commissioners and answer any questions about funding requests.
While members of the school board approved the draft budget for the 2016-17 year, one Macon County educator hopes they will join other boards in the state in asking state legislators to fully restore funding to public education. John deVille, who teaches at Franklin High School presented the school board with a resolution calling for state leaders to address budget cuts in public education.
“The North Carolina Constitution includes an obligation to provide a sound, basic education to all school-aged children in our state, acknowledging that talent and ingenuity can be found among all our children and whereas public education is the cornerstone for our democracy and economic future,” reads the resolution.
The resolution identified that according to the NEA report, N.C. ranks 46th in the country for per pupil spending at $8632 pre student in 2014-15.
“The school board calls upon the General Assembly to reinstate K-12 enrollment growth as part of the continuation budget and the school board calls upon the legislators of both parties to reject the trend toward shifting education spending to local counties and the school board calls upon the General Assembly to raise additional state revenue in an equitable fashion in order to avoid regressive tax shifts to counties, reads the resolution.
Board of Education Chairman Jim Breedlove noted that the school board would review the resolution and consider adopting the resolution via a poll at a later date to ensure all school board members had appropriate time to review the document.
DeVille noted that the resolution doesn’t force the General Assembly to take any action, but rather gives local districts a unified voice on the state level during the budget process.