WBS technically bottom of priorities

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

School board approves $235 million budget

Wrightsville Beach School renovations and additions are currently listed as the last item included in the New Hanover County Schools bond priorities list with a designated New Hanover County $160 million figure.

While the renovations and additions are No. 14 of 25, the funding would cut off after the WBS project and before Alderman Elementary additions and renovations at No. 15.

Eddie Anderson, director of facilities and planning, gave a presentation during the July 2 regular New Hanover County Board of Education meeting to update members before the upcoming July 24 retreat.

He said schools administration and county staff representatives met on June 3, when county staff requested the bond referendum wait until 2014.

“The amount that they gave us was $160 million,” Anderson said.

The WBS additions and renovations are still estimated at $6.25 million, which would cover additions to eliminate mobile units and an expansion of the media center among other improvements.

School board members will discuss the individual project items more in depth, with the ability to make changes, during the July 24 retreat as a follow up to the Jan. 23 retreat.

Following bond referendum project approval by the board, members will meet with the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley said the county is committed to building a northern elementary school, the No. 1 item on the list, with or without the bond referendum.

As soon as the county acquires the land, Anderson said the design process would begin.

More than three hours into the meeting and with little discussion, the school board unanimously approved the $235.6 million 2013-14 budget, funded from state, federal and local sources.

The $70.65 million local current expense fund is made up of $64.74 million allocated from the 2013-14 county budget. 

The budget includes a $4.4 million, or 5 percent, increase in county operating revenue from 2012-13 with an additional $2.5 million for capital funding.

The potential county reduction for elementary school resource officers is included within the capital outlay funding contingency funds.

Member Dr. Derrick Hickey asked if the board is still able to prioritize certain entities, like information technology, after the budget is approved. Chief Financial Officer Mary Hazel Small said it could.

Budget increases will restore teacher and school administrators’ pay, increase the charter school reserve and fund various school-based program changes, such as Ashley High School’s Marine Science Academy.

Regular instruction and operational support make up the largest local expenses at about $37.5 million.

The North Carolina public school fund appropriation totals about $129.3 million for 2013-14 instructional and system-wide support services, with regular instruction as the largest expense at $73 million.

email kelly@luminanews.com 

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