Sampson County officials are scheduled to go over a $77.65 million budget which will be used for operations for the 2016-2017 school year.
“The proposed budget for Sampson County Schools includes increases in state, federal, and local spending,” said Kim Schmidlin, vice-chair for Sampson County Schools. “These increases are crucial to giving our school system the additional funds we need to meet the fiscal challenges facing us.”
That majority of the money, $51.92 million is expected to come from state funding. More than $23.25 million will be spent on teacher salaries. The remaining will go towards positions such as administration and educational assistant positions.
More than $10.59 million will come from local sources, with a large $8.18 million chunk coming from county appropriations and $2.15 million from local revenue sources. Fines and forfeitures total $260,497. Revenue from federal ($5.99 million), capitol outlay ($870,411) and child nutrition ($5.77 million) round out the rest of the budget.
Dr. Eric Bracy, superintendent of Sampson County Schools, appreciated the financial support from the County Commissioners during times when state funding became a challenge.
“We’re very thankful for that and as a result, we hope to improve academically each year,” Bracy said.
In the state’s $22.34 billion budget, more than $8.73 billion, a 3.73 percent increase, is set aside for public schools. It includes $46.8 million in recurring funds for an expected increase of 5,875 students. Sampson County school officials are expecting 8,394 youths in classrooms this year.
The average increase for teacher pay is 4.7 percent and brings the typical salary to more than $50,000 — a figure which includes money from other local sources.
“Whenever teacher get an increase, it’s a good budget year,” Bracy said. “It’s something we wholeheartedly support.”
According to a report from Jack Hoke, executive director of the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association, it’s unclear how the extensions will effect rankings. The state is 41st in teacher pay and is currently ninth out of 12 states in the South.
“This was a good start and we hope to get North Carolina on the high-end of the teacher rankings,” Bracy said.
The state’s budget also includes 1.5 percent in salary increases, a 0.5 percent one-time bonus and 1.22 percent raise for experience, if eligible. In the report, Hoke also stressed that all principals and assistant principals must be paid as much as they would earn as a teacher in the same district.
Some of the other highlights of the state’s budget includes $10 million for textbooks and digital materials, bringing the total appropriation to $71.5 million. It also includes $2.5 million for instructional materials, supplies and equipment, bringing the amount to $47 million. More than $4.7 million was set aside for the state’s Digital Learning Plan or schools.
The next work session for the board of education is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16. A regular board meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, Sampson County Auditorium, 437 Rowan Road, Clinton. The budget is scheduled to be approved at that time.
“While budget numbers are still very tight, we are encouraged with the way this year’s budget is shaping up compared to the last few years,” Schmidlin said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.