Now that the General Assembly has finally approved it’s budge, the Surry County and Mount Airy City schools systems are working to finalized their respective budgets.
After missing the June 30 deadline by nearly three months the General Assembly approved the 2015-2016 budget in late September. During that time both school systems, along with others in the state, were faced with planning their spending and employment levels without knowing how much state money the would receive. This year was particularly difficult, given that the state senate had planned to start a two-year plan of eliminating teacher assistants, along with driver’s education programs.
The final budget approved by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory ultimately left teacher assistants and dirver’s ed programs in place.
Now that the state budget has been approved, school officials are working to determine just how much they are getting.
“We are going line by line and comparing last year’s budget to determine if we need to make any changes,” said Travis Reeves, superintendent for Surry County Schools.
Surry County Schools received a state allotment total of $49,209,650. According to Reeves this allotment included various grant money and other money that would have been there regardless of the state budget. “We will have specific dollar amounts once we approve the budget,” said Reeves.
Mount Airy City Schools also could not provide any specific details other than the total allotment given by the state, which was $10,157,703. Audra Chilton, finance officer for the city schools said the school system’s final budget for the year has not yet been adopted.
Greg Little, superintendent for Mount Airy City Schools, said his overall impression of the final budget would be that it is “roughly about the same,” as last year. Little also added, “We are holding tight and treading water at this point.”
Each school in Surry County receives $100 per student for capital outlay, $10 per student for security and $1090 per child for operational appropriation funds, in addition to their state allotments. Surry County Schools has 8,283 students. Mount Airy City Schools has 1,641 students and Elkin City Schools has 1,256 students.
According to the Surry County Budget expenditures for the fiscal year 2015-16 $23,527,032 will be used for education, out of the total revenue for the county which is $73,969,812.
Both Little and Reeves said that the cost of doing business has risen as well, “We may keep our teachers and teaching assistants but, the cost for keeping those employees has went up,” said Little.
The schools are still receiving the same dollar allotment, according to Reeves, although starting teachers salaries has risen from $33,000 to $35,000. Also, the cost of employee benefits — including insurance and retirement — have gone up.
The Surry County schools board is set to consider passing the final budget during a meeting at the central office boardroom on Oct. 14 starting at 5 p.m.
Reach Eva Queen at (336) 415-4739 or [email protected]