05/19/08 — Duplin Schools unsure of next move

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Duplin Schools unsure of next move

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 19, 2008 1:47 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Duplin County Public Schools Supt. Dr. Wiley J. Doby has reserved comment on the county's $43.7 million general fund draft budget that falls about $6 million shy of funding the some $13 million being requested by the county's public schools.

Doby said he has yet to study the proposal, so any comment would be premature.

The draft budget only offers a little more than $7 million for the public schools.

County commissioners will hold budget workshops Wednesday through Friday at 9 a.m. each day in the commissioners' board room.

Meanwhile, because of the defeat of the proposed one-quarter cent increase in the local sales tax, the county finds itself without a potential $800,000 annually that the increase had been expected to funnel into the county for public schools and James Sprunt Community College.

Voters in last week's primary voted 5,490 to 4,064 against the proposal.

"Certainly, we promoted the sales tax referendum very hard," he said. "We felt it was a fair tax in that it applies to everyone. It would by no means meet all of our facilities needs, but it would help and would be an ongoing stream of revenue."

Doby said the county schools have many facilities needs.

He said he did not know if the school board will ask commissioners to place the issue on the November ballot.

"We will examine where we are, pick up the pieces and go from there," he said.

Doby declined comment about remarks made earlier by Commissioner Cary Turner about the sales tax vote.

Turner said county residents lacked confidence in the school board and how it spends money.

Turner said there were some community leaders in his district who favored the increase, but did not support it because of concerns about the school board's leadership.