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Notes from the June 27 Chatham County school board meeting

By Mia Munn
Posted Friday, July 6, 2012

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Pittsboro, NC - Here are my notes from the school board meeting held on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

There were 3 community members and two staff members from Perry Harrison in attendance. Mr. Hamm, Mr. Leonard, and Mr. O’Brien attended by phone. Ms. McManus and Ms. Turner were in the room.

Agenda and files

The board went into closed session for a few minutes to discuss personnel. When they returned to open session, they approved the personnel agenda. Mr. Logan announced that the new principal for Perry Harrison was Freda Hicks, currently an assistant principal in Hillsborough. She was the top pick of the interview committee (six parents/staff from PHS and six central office administrators). Mr. Logan interviewed the top two and selected Ms. Hicks. Her references said she listens well and works well with parents.

The board approved two budget amendments: 3K in federal Title II grants and 42K in USDA funds for the child nutrition program.

Mr. Logan gave an update on the budget situation. (sorry, some of this is already out of date). The General Assembly has passed a budget and is waiting on the Governor. (Perdue has vetoed the budget – now it’s waiting to see if there is an override or a compromise.) Mr. Logan said the budget as passed doesn’t help public education. It is not school-friendly. Little of the federal edujobs money has been replaced. The budget restores $346K of the required discretionary cuts from the state, and gives the district $350K more than they received this year. At the last hour, the budget added additional restrictions on how money can be reallocated, so that the $1.4M the district got this year after the position audit (which told them how to maximize state funding) probably won’t be possible next year. The budget does give flexibility in converting funds to cover the discretionary cut. Overall, there is less money for education than there was last year.

(Note: I think this means that combined state and federal funding is down – districts received $259M in federal edujobs money this school year. Next year, they won’t receive any of that, but the state has increased funding by $69M to offset part of that loss.)

The budget doesn’t restore funding for the Teaching Fellows program. Mr. Logan was part of a group of 11 superintendents who had been advising Speaker Tillis. He said it feels like the superintendents were not listened to.

The county approved its budget June 18 with the requested funding for Chatham County schools. It includes an additional $715K and flexibility to reallocate capital funds to others capital projects if some projects are under budget. The commissioners also put no restrictions on how the district manages the budget. Mr. Hamm commented that this budget is a vote of confidence from the commissioners to the board. Mr. Logan said administrators are meeting with county staff weekly; everything is very transparent.

The fund balance is holding. At the July 12 board meeting, unless something changes, Mr. Logan will recommend restoration of some of the budget cuts. Mr. Hamm (who was at a budget conference) said that we are in good shape while other districts are scrambling.

Mr. Logan said the district will continue the strategy of leaving Teacher Assistant positions unfilled in order to keep local funds balanced.

Mr. O’Brien commended the chair (Mr. Hamm) for meeting with the chair of the commissioners (Mr. Bock) every month.


Mia Munn is a former educator who ran for the Chatham County school board in 2008.

 
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