DOBSON — Surry County Schools is losing $277,000 in state funding for the next fiscal year.
Last month, Dr. Travis Reeves, superintendent, warned the SCS Board of Education that the district could lose between 7 percent and 10 percent of state low-wealth funding. At $2.8 million per year, this was anticipated to be between $260,000 and $280,000.
With the state alerting Reeves to the change, the cut was on the high side of estimates.
In December the state government released its new ranking of low-wealth counties. Surry County improved slightly, which caused its position to move from 28th-worst in the state to 44th worst. The state sent a letter to County Manager Chris Knopf, explaining that Surry improved because of an increase in population and a drop in unemployment from 6.96 percent to 5.46 percent.
By improving outside of the top 40, Surry County is no longer considered part of Tier I, which gets the highest consideration from the state on funding concerns.
This is the third shift in the past four years for the county, which is right at the cutoff between 40th and 41st.
From 2007-12, Surry County was Tier I, then it was Tier II for a single year before going back to Tier I for 2014-15.
Reeves said the low-wealth funding has gone toward such things as salaries, instructional support, school support, school allotments, professional development, instructional supplies and computer software. Therefore the funding impacts all students at all 19 schools.
Before the school system can start working on a new budget, the district will have to find out more of these unknown funding totals, Reeves explained.
How much will the retirement and health insurance costs be, asked Reeves. The district hasn’t heard yet about federal planning allotments, at-risk allotment and some other sources of revenue that affect budgeting.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.