05/08/12 — Schools to ask for more funds

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Schools to ask for more funds

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 8, 2012 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Board of Education agreed Monday night to increase the price of school lunches by 25 cents.

Board members also agreed to ask the county commissioners to increase the local appropriation for public schools for the coming year.

At a work session last month, the school board discussed the financial woes prompted by cuts to the schools' budgets in recent years. In 2008-09, the state had recalled $759,977, followed by $2.9 million the following year and then nearly $4 million in 2010-11. This past school year, the district reverted $5.6 million.

Then came the news that the district had been recently "blindsided," officials said, to learn its low wealth funding would be reduced next year by $432,144, said Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for finance.

Board member Arnold Flowers had suggested at the work session that commissioners be enlisted to help, by helping make up the difference and raising its appropriation for the coming year.

"We are actually asking the county for additional money," explained Flowers, chairman of the board's finance committee. "They can always say no. We're hoping they won't."

The board also followed through on a recommendation by the finance committee to raise school lunch prices for all grades from $2 to $2.25, effective in the fall.

"There are many changes coming down the pike," Ms. Barwick said. "We are required by this federal mandate to increase our meal prices for next year."

The minimum districts are requested to go up is 15 cents, Ms. Barwick said.

"We're hoping by making an increase to $2.25 it will eliminate us having to do that next year," she said.

She also noted that with the proposed changes, under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, districts will be required to offer healthier options, including a half-cup serving of a fruit or vegetable. Such items, she explained, will make food shopping much more expensive.

The last hike to lunch prices came in 2008-09, Ms. Barwick said. The current proposal only pertains to lunches, she added, although breakfast prices are likely to be hit next.

Board member John Grantham countered the motion of $2.25 with a motion of his own -- sticking with the minimum that had been suggested.

"I would recommend 15 cents if everybody's strapped as it is," he said, questioning the need to hike up prices prematurely. "That's raising it up more than what we need to do right now. ... It doesn't make sense to charge people now for something that might happen in the future."

Flowers stuck with his original motion.

"I don't want to do more than we have to do but I feel like that $2.25, I felt like after hearing everything that was presented to us, was probably the more logical and most conservative (choice)," he said.

When put to a vote, the $2.25 proposal passed 5-1, with only Grantham opposed.

In other business, the board approved 15 contracts to handle renovation projects at several schools.

Contracts approved included:

* Five awards to Convenient Glass Service for removal of steel doors and replacement with tempered glass doors: $7,195 at Eastern Wayne Elementary; $6,495 each at Northeast and Northwest elementary schools; $11,924 at Dillard Middle; and $6,295 at Rosewood Middle.

* Hill Electric Service, $9,550 to remove existing electrical service to media center rooftop unit and connect to new unit at Norwayne Middle

* CC Dickson, $8,311 to replace HVAC unit for media center at North Drive Elementary

* Weeks Electric Co. Inc., $26,500 to rebuild existing sewer pump station at Brogden Middle

* Two $36,097 contracts for Baker Mechanical Inc., to remove existing boiler and install two boilers at Eastern Wayne High and North Drive

* Bar-Lyn Enterprise Inc., $48,150 for asbestos abatement in media building at Eastern Wayne Middle

* Greenville Contractors Inc., $125,600 to replace gym floor at Dillard

* TEAM Roofing, $218,800 to replace roof on gym building and two-story main building and canopy at Goldsboro High

* Buck's Fire Extinguisher Sales & Service, $12,345 to convert cafeteria hood suppressions from dry to wet at Grantham, Eastern Wayne Middle, Rosewood High, Spring Creek High and North Drive

* Pro Net, $11,884, access control for maintenance gate and office.