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Budget impasses stalls some school funding; officials frustrated

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, September 9, 2019

Local school officials are expressing frustration that some new state funding earmarked for education has been sidelined by the continuing impasse over the state budget.

The N.C. General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper have not been able to reach any compromise over the state budget since Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed in June the spending plan approved by the state House and Senate, both of which have Republican majorities. Cooper has said he vetoed the budget bill because it didn’t include any money for expanding Medicaid in the state and because he’s not happy with its spending levels for education, believing it should include more for schools.

Because of the impasse, the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education was scheduled to consider a 2019-20 budget resolution late last week that did not include any new state money. That meeting was postponed, however, because of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival off the North Carolina coast on Thursday.

School board Chairwoman Sharon Warden expressed disappointment that the new funding for schools has been stalled by the state budget impasse.

“There are so many vital services for our great state that are stalled as a result of this impasse,” she said. “It is past time for some active movement on this front. Our elected officials need to convene and make a conscientious effort to get the job done. Get a budget hammered out by working together, having reasonable and logical discussion, and negotiating willingly for the good of their constituents. As one of our very own local commissioners pointed out, ‘represent the state’s people, not a particular party affiliation.’”

The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools’ proposed budget resolution is based on $11.6 million in local current expense funding. It includes $11.3 million in county current expense funding, $110,000 in fines and forfeitures, $25,000 in sales and use tax, $12,400 in miscellaneous revenues, and $100,000 in fund balance.

The proposed budget resolution budgets that local current expense funding as follows: $4.39 million for instructional services, $6.26 million for systemwide support services, $3,597 for ancillary services, and $947,000 for non-programmed services.

The resolution incorporates $39.2 million in state public school funding. Of that amount, $32.1 million is designated for instructional services, $6.96 million for systemwide support services, and $92,915 for ancillary services.

Other funds in the proposed resolution include federal grants, child nutrition money, local special revenue, capital outlay funding, and after school care money.

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