2/26/2021 8:29:00 AM School Board, Commissioners Hold Joint Session
ESSERS-2 refers to money from the CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, to address the impact of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools.
Wayne Howard Reporter
Lincoln County Commissioners and the Lincoln County Board of Education held a joint session Thursday evening (Feb. 25th). It was what has become an annual tradition--the School Board making its initial pitch for County funding for the next year.
Last year, before the pandemic ever existed, Commissioners cut the schools budget by about 5%. From just over $24 million the previous year, the schools were cut to just under $22 million for fiscal 2020-2021. Commissioners did increase teacher supplements by 2% and promised to revisit the budget as necessary during the year. Thay made good on that promise when they approved spending up to $1.3 million for Chromebooks for the schools.
The Thursday evening presentation expounded on the schools plans for the coming year. One of the things for which they are asking is a 2% increase in the local supplement for administrators. They're also hoping to increase the pay of classified employees, who haven't had a cost of living increase in several years, by 50¢ an hour. The plans call for adding 4½ new teaching positions including a teacher to work with academically gifted students, splitting time between East Lincoln & North Lincoln middle schools.
The schools hope to use some of their money from the quarter-cent local option sales tax to fund keeping nine teaching positions working in art, music and drama.
Superintendent Dr. Aaron Allen explained the request for increases to the Lincoln Herald:
"We are asking for an additional $2,497,098 in current expense. We are supposed to be baseline funded at $19,259,374 in current expense and we are asking for $2.4 million more on top of that.
"For capital outlay, we only get $1,729,091.00 as our baseline allotment each year and we are asking for an additional $2 million on top of that to handle capital needs.
"We will revisit this request with the Board of Commissioners on April 22nd at another meeting at their location."
The money may be hard to come by. County Manager Kelly Atkins said near the end of Thursday night's meeting, "We're starting off our budget planning this year with four-and-a-half million dollars less than we had a year ago."
CLICK HERE to watch the recording of the Thursday night meeting on YouTube.
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