​I-SS school board reviews preliminary 2018-19 budget

Posted at 2:44 PM on Feb 6, 2018

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BY KARISSA MILLER

The Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education got its first look at the draft 2018-19 local current expense budget Monday night, which includes a $40.9 million spending plan.

The 2018-19 preliminary budget created by school district administrators rose to $40,945,860 from $36,145,170 in 2017-18, which is a 13.28 percent increase.

Members of the district’s Finance Committee are recommending that the Iredell County Board of Commissioners fund the approximately $2.7 million state-mandated cost of elementary class size legislation.

To be in compliance, school officials estimate they will spend around $2.6 million to hire 48 teachers, which combined with $140,000 slated for classroom space, may necessitate the need for more drastic cuts in expenditures down the line.

Chief Finance Officer Melissa Wike called the preliminary budget “the first round for the board to consider” during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Another big challenge is funding mandatory raises for certified and classified staff. This could cost around $719,650 a year, she said. (The figure is based on Wike’s preliminary estimate of 3 percent raises for certified staff and 2 percent raises for classified staff, which has not yet been determined).

There are some state budget reductions the district already knows will go into effect next year, Wike said, like reduced central office funding.

Other challenges and expansions she listed included:

§Charter school growth……………………………………$207,700

§Refresh technology lease………………………………...$207,600

§Limited state budget flexibility…….………………….... $205,600

§Three SAP positions……………….………………….... $202,800

§Two maintenance positions……………………………...$100,000

§I Academy coordinator…………………………………...$69,300

§Expiration of Oak Foundation grant……………………. $68,330

§Online student registration software……………………. $61,380

§One transportation mechanic……………………………. $55,000

§Reduced state central office funding……………………. $41,050

  • Misc. expansion items……………………………………$137,510

Wike reminded the board that a formal request is due to Iredell County commissioners on March 14. The board will need to hold a public hearing and vote on the local budget request at the March 12 board meeting, Wike said.

Principals’ Recommendations on the budget

Superintendent Brady Johnson pointed out recommendations by principals who serve on the finance committee.

Johnson explained that the principals reviewed a long list of funding requests from department heads, ranging from additional staff to instrument leases to nurse supplies and supplement increases for coaches. Together, the proposed spending requests totaled $2.5 million and they approved around $513,000, he said.

Additionally, the principals suggested $407,500 in cost-saving measures.

These measures include eliminating a central office position, reducing Blended Learning instructional facilitator positions, reductions to district cell phones, consulting for wireless phones and eliminating AdvancED accreditation.

Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Melanie Taylor said I-SS has been reducing its central office workforce somewhat steadily over the last few years. She said that department supervisors have opted to spread out duties when a person retires rather than fill the vacancy as a cost saving measure.

Lastly, school officials informed the board that the preliminary budget did not include costs for hiring gate guards at the schools. The Iredell County commissioners picked up the cost of gate guards this school year after several parents voiced concerns when those positions weren’t funded.

School Board Chairman Martin Page said that at this point the board doesn’t have any idea how much funding the county will give the school district. Furthermore, he questioned whether or not the board should go ahead with recommending possible budget cuts in regard to staff.

The board did not take any action at the meeting or discuss any potential cuts. Board member Anna Bonham was absent from Monday’s meeting.

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