County schools officials approve expense budget

By: By Chase Jordan -

Leaders from Sampson County Schools approved expenses of more than $11.14 million for 2018.

The Board of Education approved the request from financial officials during its Monday night meeting. Although approved by the board, Finance Director Stephen Britt reported that some of the requests may change after it’s sent to the Sampson County Board of Commissioners.

“It’s not really our full 2018 budget, we’re still working on that,” Britt said about the preliminary plans.

For school operations during the 2016-17 school year, the district used $78 million from state, federal, county and grant funds. The process of setting a final amount for the 2017-18 school year may continue through June because of legislative issues.

For Sampson Schools, the largest chunk of requested funding — $5.37 million — is for utilities maintenance and custodial needs.

Next is the the local supplement, $1.93 million, is expected to go towards helping to pay teachers. Third is for Prekindergarten and support at $1.24 million.

Some of the other listed include ROTC ($168,652), technology ($691,000), central office administration ($256,021), nursing ($435,509), and general administration ($383,430).

To pay for these request, Sampson County Schools is expecting to receive revenue from several sources. Some of them include the ROTC federal funds ($120,826), rental of school property ($97,720), and NC Pre-K ($831,015).

The largest request for money is being sent to the Sampson County Board of Commissioners. That amount is for $8.98 million. During the previous budget session, Sampson Schools received $8.18 million from county officials.

“It’s what we anticipate, but we’ll have to adjust as all these other factors come into play,” Britt said.

For the upcoming fiscal year, the request of more than $800,000 was made to offset state reductions. One of the major cuts is a $108,000 in Low Wealth funding, which is distributed when a county’s ability to produce local income for public education is below the state’s average. During the previous school year, the district received a total of $4.76 million. For the 2016-17 school year the amount was $4.37 million.

In all, the district is expecting a cut of $450,000 in state funds. Besides Low Wealth funding, reports show the district losing $10,321 in Disadvantaged Student Supplemental Funding; $70,000 for its Limited English Proficiency (LEP) program, which helps students understand the language.

Another large cut is $165,000 is for at-risk students. These funds are used to help students failing in academics.

During budget sessions, school officials are expected to meet with county officials in the spring or summer.

It was also noted that request does not include spending increases and does not take into account the potential impact of the classroom size law. The future legislation requires that the average size for K-3 classes are below 20 students.

The Sampson County Schools Board of Education is preparing for its upcoming budget. Sampson County Schools Board of Education is preparing for its upcoming budget.

By Chase Jordan