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School Board approves budget offer, but still faces a $2.6 million shortfall for next year

Stanly County Schools is facing a budget shortfall of roughly $2.6 million for the next school year — even after the school board accepted the county’s funding offer Wednesday night.

The school board presented a budget to the county commissioners which took into account the current expenses for the year plus an across-the-board increase in payroll during a meeting in April.

County Manager Andy Lucas presented a draft budget proposal last week which included less for SCS than the school board’s budget, which is currently projected to end the school year at just over $17 million, according to board member and finance committee chairman Anthony Graves.

On Wednesday, the school board approved the county’s allocation of $15.4 million for the school system, but not before Graves said there was a $2.6 million gap between how much the school system is projected to spend this coming year versus how much it is anticipated to receive.

The county provided the school system roughly $13.7 million in funding for the current school year.

The school board still hopes to receive additional funding from the commissioners to help close the gap. If it doesn’t get extra funds, then cuts will have to be made, school officials said.

With payroll being the bulk of the school system’s expenses, Superintendent Dr. Jeff James informed the board it would be unable to replace 31 teacher positions next year as those teachers retire. James also noted SCS would have to cut more than $800,000 in capital expenses to meet the spending target.

Though the school board approved the county’s allotment, it plans to present commissioners with a figure of $17.4 million, which is the minimum amount the board feels is needed to be fully funded at its current level. This number does not include funding from the quarter-cent sales tax earmarked for school safety.

“The closer they can get to that number ($17.4 million) the better we are,” Graves said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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