News Better for Schools on Budget
The Moore County school system has allocated an additional 34 teaching positions for the 2009-2010 school year, set to begin Tuesday.
Superintendent Susan Purser said Wednesday that she and her staff have analyzed preliminary information on the state budget impact and federal stimulus money and decided that maximizing resources for the classroom was the priority.
"The place where most of our dollars need to be spent is on our teaching positions," she said.
Purser said that the school system will not be adding any additional support to its central office, even though the overall budget impact is not expected to be as severe as originally thought back in the spring. At that time, Purser directed that $900,000 be moved out of the central administration budget and into the schools.
She said that philosophy will not change, and considers that to be an important factor in moving forward.
Some of the 34 teaching positions are made possible by federal stimulus money for the system's exceptional children (EC) program and Title 1 schools. Title 1 schools are identified as having a certain percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
Purser added that no further reductions will be made to the classroom this school year.
"We've decided that we're out of the reduction business," she said. "Our goal is to leave our schools alone at this stage and focus on what's most important -- providing engaging experiences for our students so they can be successful."
Purser was quick to commend the principals, who moved quickly to accommodate the additional staff that will be available. They had been planning all summer on the basis of the previous and more dire budget expectations.
While no concrete figures have been nailed down yet, Purser and her staff are expecting about a $3.7 million reduction in state funding from last year.
The total impact would be greater -- about $6.9 million -- but the system will receive about $3.2 million in federal "stability money" to mitigate the reduction. Purser said stability money is given to the state to allow it to fill in budget gaps where it sees fit.
Purser cautioned that money will be good for two years "at best."
Transportation is also expected to be impacted, but it is still unclear just how much. She said the system's transportation staff has been working diligently to fine-tune bus routes to make them more efficient and to reduce costs, a task it carries out every year.
An additional bus will be added to the fleet, which Purser believes will help matters.
In the mean time, the system is gearing up for the start of the school year Tuesday. Purser said teachers returned to the schools Tuesday.
"Things are going well," she said.
Purser will be making a full budget presentation at the Moore County Board of Education's next regular meeting Sept. 14.
"We will continue over the next couple of weeks trying to work out all of the details," she said. "We still don't have everything from Raleigh."
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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