During its Tuesday morning work session, the Sampson County Schools Board of Education received gloomy projections about the upcoming budget — which included the elimination of educational positions.
While addressing his colleagues on the board, Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said that the district does not have budget numbers from local or federal budgets yet, but reported pieces from the state outlook.
“We have some decreases that we’re going to have to deal with here as a staff,” Bracy said.
The figures were based on projections of having a drop of 211 students for the 2016-2017 school year. Currently it’s set at 8,605 for the current period. Estimates from the state are based on factors such as birth rates and children turning the appropriate age to begin kindergarten.
“If you look at last year’s ADM (Average Daily Membership) … 8,605 we never reached that,” Bracy said about the outlook. “Our max ADM this year (according to reports) is 8,452.”
A major cut is $639,506 in the allotment for classroom teachers and may result in the elimination of 7.5 positions.
“That is a significant cut to us,” Bracy said. “We’re going have to figure out how to fund these positions.”
So far, the planned budget for next school year is $22.3 million, which is less than the previous $22.9 million spent on teachers. Some of the other cuts were instructional support, non-instructional support, Career and Technical Education (CTE), program support for CTE and classroom materials.
Currently, the district is awaiting for appropriations such as administration for the schools and the central office, disadvantaged students, teacher assistants, children with special needs and at-risk students.
“They didn’t give us a dollar amount, but they gave us a formula,” Bracy said. “We feel very confident that the amount will leave us where we were next year, we’re hopeful for that.”
One of the bright sides of the presentation included an increase of $272,000 for transportation, bringing the expected amount to $294,632 in state funding. Funding for textbooks and driver training has increased as well.
“A lot is still out there, but I wanted you to be aware as we try to stay transparent through this budget process,” Bracy said to board members.
Locally, school leaders are seeking $1,050 per student from the Sampson Board of Commissioners for the 2016-17 period. It’s a 10 percent increase from the the current amount of $930 per student, which is more than $8 million in county funds. If commissioners approve the request, the additional $811,050 will expand the pot to $8.8 million.
During a work session in March, Bracy presented a capital outlay budget with more than $600 million in improvements, which was presented to Sampson County officials. One of the projects included a driveway replacement at Lakewood High School, roof repairs, painting and security upgrades.
Bracy plans to update the board every month until the budget is finalized.
“Everything is not in place yet,” Bracy said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.