sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I went to the school board meeting in High Point. I listened to the remembrances of Garry Burnett, some of which were emotional.

But the best remembrance (yes, I checked the dictionary and removed the "e" from the earlier post) of Burnett came not at the school board meeting but over the conference table at GGO today as we were planning tonight's candidates forum.

My colleague J.P. Swisher told me that, in the early 1980s, he was a budding filmmaker and worked at a local singing telegram company with Burnett. He asked Burnette to play a secret service agent in the (needless to say, low-budget) film he was making, and Burnett agreed. In one scene, Swisher said, Burnett, as the secret service agent, threw him into the back seat of a car.

Board chairman Alan Duncan ran the board meeting at snappy pace because they had a lengthy closed session ahead of them.

Board CFO Sharon Ozment presented the finalized budget to the board,which, with all sources of funding, is just over $494 million. But it also included a decrease in state funding of $2.5 million, a shortfall that drew critical comments from a couple of board members.

"The state did not fulfill its responsibility, and we need to keep that in mind in November," said board member Anita Sharpe.

Duncan criticized not only the state but the federal government for its unfunded mandates.

"That kind of shortage is untenable with a rising student population," Duncan said.

But the good news regarding the budget is the fact that there are 174 more students enrolled than the system budgeted for in 2004-2005. Based on the per-pupil county appropriation of $1900, the schools now feel justified in asking the county for another $331,000. The money could be used to hire seven teachers and offset costs for providing transportation.

Then the board discussed whether or not SCALE should be a reassignment or a voluntary alternative. The reasonable move appeared to be to make it a reassignment for for kids under 16 but not for kids 16 and over since they are allowed by law to drop out.

They agreed to look at it another time.

Then I had to leave to go to the candidates' forum. I'll share my thoughts on that event, if I have any, tomorrow.


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