School board expects budget shortfall

Published 9:59 am Friday, March 20, 2009

By Staff
Staff Writer
The Beaufort County Schools are working to figure out how the recession will affect next year’s budget, but much remains murky.
It’s unclear exactly how deeply or where the state will cut, and how much federal money will be available to fill the gap, said Rivenbark at Thursday’s meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Education Personnel and Curriculum Committee.
Rivenbark said he expects the county schools to get $3.1 million in federal stimulus money, but doesn’t know what limitations will be set on spending it.
It’s also unclear if federal money sent to the state will be available to plug holes.
The schools will hold $289,000 in reserve to make up for expected shortfalls from Raleigh, according to a proposed budget Rivenbark presented to the committee.
Hodges hopes holding the cash in reserve will help offset future reversions.
Contributions from county government, which are falling in many school systems in the state, are guaranteed by a funding agreement between the county and the schools, Rivenbark said.
The agreement was signed after the schools sued the county for funding. The case is being reviewed by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Under the agreement, the county will increase funding for operations by about $500,000, to more than $15 million, and spend about $1.5 million on buildings and grounds.
In other action, the board heard that only seven people applied to be the system’s next superintendent. Officials said they were expecting more than 20 applications.
Rivenbark said he wasn’t sure why so few people applied.
The board will discuss the superintendent applications and interview the lone applicant for a vacant slot on the board at a special meeting March 30.
The board could also decide if it wants to reopen either search process, said board Chairman Robert Belcher.