04/25/05 — Wayne school board will wait for numbers

View Archive

Wayne school board will wait for numbers

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 25, 2005 1:47 PM

Wayne County Board of Education members will wait to hear numbers from the county's commissioners before proceeding with plans concerning the district's budget and construction projects.

The decision came at the end of an extended work session by the board Friday.

Members of the school board are scheduled to meet with the Wayne County Board of Commissioners Thursday to discuss the schools' budget request for 2005-06.

"I'm not sure how much reviewing we can do until we get some kind of figures from the county commissioners and from the education committee," School Board Chairman Lehman Smith said. "Until we have another meeting and find out what they're going to fund us, we don't really have to go in and start turning it around."

Smith said he doesn't believe the commissioners fully understand the strained resources caused by inadequate funding. He said the schools have not received an increase in operating expenses in three years.

"I feel like we ought to ask the county for that money," Smith said.

The school board agreed to ask the commissioners for a 5 percent increase in operating expenses and a 6.5 percent raise in teacher supplements.

Nan Barwick, the schools' assistant superintendent for finance, said the commissioners funded a requested teacher supplement for half of the current school year. The board will request full funding for next year, she said, which would mean a total of $840,960.

Mrs. Barwick said the schools' proposed budget contains the 5 percent increase. She told the board that if the increase is not approved by the commissioners, "we would have to come back to you and restructure this budget."

The school system has already made many budget cuts in recent years that have not been restored, Superintendent Dr. Steve Taylor said. Although no positions were eliminated, vacancies were not filled to cut costs, he said.

Taylor said he would like the positions to be restored so personnel can be hired to fill them. He cited 21 teacher assistant positions that remain open, as well as two assistant principals and 19 teaching jobs in art, music and Spanish.

Several school board members said any talk about which building projects should receive priority would be premature until a revised priority list is developed.

The current priority list was based on a report submitted by consultants in 1999. When commissioners recently suggested the list be updated, the school system directed R.N. Rouse and Co. to perform the study. The updated findings are expected to be completed within a month.

School board members said once the revision is received, that they will review any new recommendations it contains.

"We will set up another meeting after getting the revisions and ultimately in the end, programs will dictate what we do," Taylor said.