sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In a mercifully short meeting, the Guilford County Board of Education passed a budget on the evening before school starts.

The way I read it, the board is returning a minimum of $1 million to the schools, reducing per-pupil cuts to $64.85. The board had been prepared to cut as much as $136 per pupil, but board members had penciled in about $80 per student in previous budget sessions.

The administration proposed freezing 20 teacher assistant vacancies, which saved $470,000. The board balked at freezing 24 TA positions at previous meetings, but obviously were able to compromise on a lower number. An adjustment to the maintenance budget saved another $363,000.

Classified employees got a .25 percent raise instead of the full 1 percent for which they lobbied hard. Teacher supplements were also increased to a minimum of 10 percent, depending on tenure. But again, a 1 percent across the board increase did not make the cut. Nor did the $1 million to address the high out of school dropout rate. That's good, because to my memory that involved a lot of politically-correct sensitivity training.

The budget motion passed by an 8-2 vote, with board members Anita Sharpe and Dot Kearns voting against it. (Garry Burnett was absent.) Very few questions were asked of CFO Sharon Ozment, as board members were still weary from the marathon July 22 meeting, which lasted long into the night.


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