10/02/12 — School board passes budget

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School board passes budget

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 2, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne County Board of Education Monday night approved a $196.4 million uniform budget for the upcoming year, $2.5 million in contracts and a resolution opposing coastal wind projects in military flight training areas, and voted to change the dismissal time at the district's alternative school.

The school system's budget for 2012-13 is nearly $13 million higher than the previous year's, which was $183 million, said Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for fiscal services, attributing the difference to capital outlay appropriations, which account for $13.9 million.

She explained that construction projects are continuing at two schools -- Norwayne and Eastern Wayne middle schools -- and while being paid for through county and federal appropriations, the line items are still on the district's books.

She added that furnishings at the two schools are estimated at $1.5 million. Additional items on the budget include four cars for transportation supervisors, a total of $26,000, and purchasing two mowers -- for use at Edgewood Community Developmental School and Southern Wayne High -- for another $15,100.

Discussion also arose about the fund balance, utilized by most government agencies and designated for such items as salaries and unexpected expenses. For the upcoming year, that amount remains close to $2.3 million, which the district will keep in reserve.

Board member Arnold Flowers raised concerns about the amount, suggesting if there was some sort of emergency, the "month's worth" of expense money would not be sufficient.

"Hopefully in the upcoming year we can keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't drop too much," he said.

Board member Rick Pridgen made a motion to adopt the uniform budget.

"We haven't finished discussing it yet," board member Thelma Smith said. "I still don't see any cameras for these buses. Somebody answer me, why can't we get some cameras for these school buses?"

Mrs. Barwick said she has been investigating the possibility of grants for that purpose.

"My concern right now for this budget is to keep these yellow buses running," she said. "This past year we spent over a half-million dollars. I know the need for the cameras, but I don't have the funds right now to put them on there."

She said it will cost in excess of $1 million to "do it the way we want to do it," which will also entail a recurring expense.

With that, Mrs. Smith seconded the motion for the budget, which passed unanimously.

Contracts approved by the board included $538,0000, through state funds, for RHA Howell Care Center to provide residential services to up to 30 children; $83,265 to Teachscape from federal Title I funds to provide professional development seminars; funding as part of a Department of Defense grant, $86,647 for furniture at Wayne School of Engineering and $80,673 for furnishing at Greenwood Middle School, to establish computer labs at the schools; another $494,118 to Apple Inc. for iPads, televisions, iPad learning labs and cables; $7,050 to Premiere Carpets from capital outlay funds for carpeting in the administrative area of Spring Creek High School; $904,805 for furniture at Norwayne and Eastern Wayne middle schools; and $10,659 from local funds for flooring to the gym at Eastern Wayne Middle.

The board also supported a resolution already passed by the county commission, opposing planned energy projects in eastern North Carolina, believed to be detrimental to training missions of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and other Department of Defense users of the airspace near the planned projects. The resolution also calls for the General Assembly and citizens to oppose such projects in the eastern region.

A revision to the dismissal time at Wayne Middle/High Academy was prompted by transportation issues, said Dr. Craig McFadden, assistant superintendent for accountability/student services. He explained that the change was necessitated by the need to transport students to their respective home schools to catch a bus.

Opening time, 8:15 a.m., will remain the same, with dismissal being moved up 15 minutes, from 2:45 to 2:30 p.m.