Hearing on School Budget Draws Only One Speaker
Moore County Schools officials expected a light turnout for the public hearing Monday night on the proposed 2012-13 budget.
They were correct — just one person spoke to the board on a budget issue.
Retired Sandhills Community College instructor Rick Lewis spoke on the discontinuation of the elementary orchestra program, calling it a “valuable addition” to the curriculum “for about 35 years.”
“This program was not included in the 2011-2012 budget and will apparently not be included in FY 2012-2013 either,” he said. “This is an important learning tool for the children, and if more parents had understood that the program would be cut, I think they would have spoken up for its continuation.”
Lewis said the wording in last year’s budget confused many.
“The term used was ‘alignment,’ and I thought to myself that at least the program would not be cut,” he said. “To my surprise, aligned did mean discontinued. I would ask that next time a program is to be cut, you will use that term so that it will be clear to the public what your intentions are.”
Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence spoke to Lewis after the hearing had adjourned.
“I will take a careful look at what you said,” Spence told him. “As a former band student myself, I can appreciate the educational value of musical instruction.”
While the elementary school level classes were cut, youth orchestra instruction for middle and high school students has continued.
In an earlier meeting, Spence praised the board for making what he called “courageous decisions” regarding the budget.
“Last year the board took a proactive stance and tapped into the fund balance this year, as they will do for FY 2012-13 as well,” he said. “We are in a secure financial position for the 2012-2013 budget because last year the board voted to make significant cuts in order to reduce costs. I sincerely congratulate the board for the work they’ve done.”
Earlier this month, Spence recommended a budget of $95.8 million to the Moore County Board of Education. The school system expects to receive $62.3 million from the state, $6 million in federal funding, and $25.5 million in local funding.
The school system had to reduce its budget by $3.4 million this year to accommodate state funding shortfalls. Next year, the system is expected to reduce its budget by $4.3 million.
Contact John Lentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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