Duplin school officials annnounce where to out $750,000 in extra funding
By Andrew Bell
Published in News on June 12, 2007 1:45 PM
The Duplin County Board of Education has determined how it will use an additional $750,000 allocation in the county budget next year to improve education and facilities.
Although the allocation isn't close to the $12.3 million the school board initially requested, Duplin Schools chief financial officer Carolyn Olivarez said the $750,000 will be split in two ways -- $155,000 will be used for instructional supplies and the remaining $595,000 will be used for facilities maintenance and upkeep.
When Commissioner Cary Turner presented the motion to provide county schools with $750,000 more than the expected allocation of about $7.6 million, he said he found it appalling that some Duplin teachers were forced to spend from their own pockets to buy classroom supplies for their students.
After the motion passed, the commissioners marked the money restricted until the school board determined how much would be needed for program supplies and facility improvements.
Mrs. Olivarez said all $750,000 granted by the commissioners has been allocated to the school board's current expense account. The $155,000 for instructional supplies will act as a new budget item in the next year, she added.
About $250,000 of the remaining $595,000 will be used to continue the schools' facilities facelift program, which began last year. That program improves the facade and interior of schools by pressure-washing dirt off the outside of the buildings, putting new coats of paint on inside walls and cleaning and waxing floors. Many of those projects will begin this summer while students are on vacation.
Mrs. Olivarez said the program has a positive effect psychologically because teachers and students both take pride in a cleaner school, which also helps with school spirit.
The remaining $345,000 will be used for buying additional cleaning supplies and for maintenance needs. Duplin Schools has an additional $1.3 million for maintenance and facilities needs in next fiscal year's budget, Mrs. Olivarez said.
The additional allocation to the schools was part of a larger motion by Turner that provided $184,000 to the sheriff's office for new vehicles, $100,000 to James Sprunt Community College and $65,000 for restoring the county's parks and recreation department.
That unanimously approved motion came on the heels of several decisions by the commissioners in late May that reinstated all ambulance stations throughout the county for about $372,000 and will spend $58,000 to give each fire station a 14 percent increase in funding.
Some commissioners hoped this year's county budget would lower the property tax rate from 80.5 cents to 79 cents per $100 valuation while not spending more than $1.85 million from the county's fund balance reserve.
Although the property tax rate decrease is still slated for the beginning of the next fiscal year beginning July 1, recent decisions by the commissioners have ballooned county reserve spending to about $3.35 million.
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