The Transylvania Times -

By Jeremiah Reed
Staff Writer 

Board Of Education Eyes Upcoming Budget Changes


TRANSYLVANIA, N.C. — Federal grant proposals and anticipated changes in next year’s budget highlighted the Transylvania County School Board’s scheduled meeting on Monday.

At the county’s request, the local current expense balance in June 30 of next year would be $1,574,503, according to Norris Barger, the director of business services for Transylvania County Schools.

The figure includes the reduction of $85,436 as a result of enrollment dropping from 3,570 to 3,555 and an increase of $781,462 in the appropriated fund balance to replace expiring federal EduJobs funding.

Board Chairman Chris Whitmire said the local current expense fund was not a way to subvert money away from the schools and was used in the event state funds did not arrive on schedule.

“Our current expense fund balance is not a slush fund,” he said. “We use that to make payroll if state funds don’t flow to us on time.”

According to the numbers provided by Barger, Transylvania County would need an increase in county appropriation of 2.4 percent to meet its budget. This figure does not include any potential state budget cuts that are yet unknown.

Barger also told the board that the Title I planning block was slightly less than last year but he estimated there would be enough carryover from federal funding to cover the difference. He recommended the board not request any additional funding.

Barger added that Title I funding does not arrive until October, leaving August and September payroll to be paid out of local funds and reimbursed at a later date.

“We have to pay those teachers when they return to work in August,” he said. “Often we will pay teachers from local funds and reimburse that money when federal funding is authorized.”

Cathy Childress, a teacher with the exceptional children’s program at Brevard Elementary, reported to board members on the different federal grants being applied for, including Title I, which is for supplementary reading and math education for elementary students, and RLIS (Rural Low Income Schools). Both are based on the percentage of families living below the poverty line.

Kim Elliott, director of elementary and middle grades for the school system, also spoke to the board about new designations used for Title I schools beginning in the fall.

Title I is a major part of the No Child Left Behind Act, offering federal funding for schools to aid students at risk of falling behind academically.

Currently, all four Transylvania County elementary schools (Brevard, Rosman, Pisgah Forest, T.C. Henderson) qualify for Title I funding.

Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, three titles of distinction will be applied to Title I schools. They are Reward School, Focus School and Priority School. Reward Schools are those performing above the statewide average in reading and math while meeting the Average Yearly Progress of the previous year.

Both Brevard Elementary and T.C. Henderson Elementary were designated Reward Schools for the 2012-2013 year.

Focus Schools are those in the bottom 10 percent in the state and Priority Schools are in the bottom five percent. No Transylvania County elementary schools fell into either of these categories.

In other items at the meeting:

• Barger revisited the proposed revision to the Brevard Middle School traffic pattern.

The revised plan to remove an island in the back parking lot brought cost estimates down to $151,000, including $9,000 in planned contingencies, thus coming close to $140,000.

However, Barger recently learned that a poplar tree planted in the middle of the island was a gift from legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith to the son of an individual who works for the school system. Barger said he is working on a new plan which will leave a portion of the island intact or grafting part of the poplar onto a sapling and planting the new tree elsewhere.

• The board unanimously passed a motion approving applications for three non-sponsored credit events for members.

North Carolina law requires all school board members to receive a minimum of 12 clock hours of training annually.

The North Carolina School Boards Association holds annual workshops and training events for members to take but members may also gain hours by participating in non-sponsored training activities, if approved by fellow board members.

Sheila Norman and Cindy Petit received 10 credit hours for attending the “NC CAP Mayoral Summit of Afterschool,” April 16-17 in Charlotte. Petit received an additional two hours for attending the “Public Records Law Webinar: General Topics and Overview,” March 29 at Brevard City Hall.

• Barger presented the board with budget amendments for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

The board unanimously passed a motion to approve both state and local budget amendments. The local current expense fund was unchanged, while state funding increased $15,995. Of that, $13,157 was used as fuel allotment while the remaining $2,798 was used to pay substitute teachers.

• David Sutton, director of human resources, presented to the board the results of the 2012 Satisfaction Survey.

Participation in the survey (consisting of parents and students in grades 3-12 enrolled in Transylvania County public schools) was 76.2 percent, up 1.9 percent from last year.

More on the survey results will appear in Monday’s paper

• Leigh Ann McJunkin, who provides office support at Brevard high School, and Scott Elliott, secondary education director, were honored for receiving awards at the annual Transylvania County Association of Educational Office Professionals.

McJunkin was named EOP of the year and Elliott was named Administrator of the Year.


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