School system launches budget negotiations
Superintendent Mo Green presented the Guilford County Schools’ formal budget proposal this week, which will spur months of negotiations between the school system and county Board of Commissioners.
Green unveiled his recommended 2014-15 fiscal year budget during the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.
The recommendation includes a total operating budget of $606.7 million, with nearly 7 percent coming from the federal government, 60 percent coming from the state and 33.1 percent funded locally by Guilford County.
The recommended request from the Board of Commissioners is $197.1 million, including a $19.9 million increase to fund items in four categories. They are:
• Sustaining district operations
• Salaries and other compensation needs
• Restoring cuts stemming from the Great Recession
• Expanding early-intervention literacy efforts, enhancing school security and allowing the district to assess facility conditions
The recommended budget also includes $10 million in capital funds for school buildings.
The school system contends that the “current capital outlay funding from the county amounts to only 16 cents per square foot, which isn’t enough to cover routine and preventive maintenance, especially when more than half of all GCS schools are 50 years old or more.”
Politicking and lobbying on the school system budget already has begun. At last week’s commissioners’ meeting, more than a dozen speakers addressed the nine-member board about the need to fund either new schools or upgrades to existing school buildings. The speakers included ones advocating for major renovations in areas such as the lunchroom and auditorium at High Point Central High School.
The commissioners are supposed to hold a work session on school capital funding needs April 16. The commissioners have the final say on the school system budget. The upcoming fiscal year begins July 1.