Yadkin County Manager Aaron Church released his recommended budget to county commissioners on May 13.
The Fiscal Year 2013-2014 proposed budget is $35,262,024. This is a $187,740, or 0.53 percent increase from last year’s budget. The budget maintains the current property tax rate of $0.69 per $100 of valuation.
This year’s budget doesn’t stray far from last year’s, with the exception of 11 eliminated vacant county positions and professional and administrative costs in the central office at Yadkin County Schools.
The proposed budget recommends cuts to Yadkin County schools in central office staff but allots a set amount to ensure a 1 percent increase in teachers, principals, assistant principals and coaches’ supplements.
According to the budget, this will equate to a 2 percent increase in supplements if the governor’s budget is approved.
The Yadkin County Board of Education held a special meeting on May 13 to address the newly released budget and its effects on the school system.
“This year [the county manager] has proposed a budget by purpose and function,” said Superintendent Dr. Stewart Hobbs. “The years in the past the commissioners did not allocate the school’s money by purpose and function, instead they allocated a lump sum as far as current expense and capital that the board of education then took and developed their budget and was presented to the board for approval.”
Hobbs expressed that he was glad that the teachers, principals, assistant principals and coaches would receive a supplement increase but expressed concern that that the supplement increase was not for all Yadkin County Schools employees.
The proposed budget notes that approximately eight employees in the school’s central office administrative staff have salaries, longevity, insurance, retirement and FICA that average approximately $125,408 per employee.
Of those eight employees, two will retire at the end of this year, and the county manager recommends not filling these two positions, stating that it would produce a cost savings of approximately $234,300.
The proposed budget cuts policy, leadership and public relations by $115,077 and financial and human resources by $119,223.
Hobbs and several school board members said they were concerned that one of these positions was director of exceptional children and that this position cannot be cut.
Church responded with a press release on May 14.
“According to the school’s records that they provided to the county, $114,494 will be spent out of the group, special population support and development services in FY12-13. The recommended budget for [this group] is $106,646,” the report reads.
“There will be a vacant position in the FY13-14 budget year that was paid out of this code. However, we did not feel that it would be appropriate to eliminate the funding in this code. We did, however reduce the code by $7,847, respectively the supplement.”
Church also noted that the cut in funding was to eliminate the assistant superintendent position and not director of exceptional children.
“In lieu of eliminating funding in special population support and development services we eliminated $121,232 out of policy and leadership and public relations,” Church said in the release. “Effectively this eliminates the assistant superintendent’s position whereas administration appears at this time to be top heavy. Several administrative staff members’ pay might possibly exceed the state maximum if the supplement is included.”
The budget also recommends a $200,000 cut to operational support services following statements by Dr. Hobbs that the school system had saved $200,000 by reducing operating hours and calendar days.
“Around $50,000 of [the $200,000 savings] would be in child nutrition, which is it’s own entity and about $60,000 is in transportation,” Dr. Hobbs said. “The other portion is in utilities and if we have a mild winter where we don’t have to use many inclement weather days. Where they are reducing us is in personnel.”
Dr. Hobbs shared that he hoped that the board of education would be able to meet with the county commissioners prior to their vote on the budget to discuss these concerns and see if the two boards could come to an agreement.
“I would suggest our chairman and vice-chairman sit down with the commissioner’s chairman and vice-chairman to discuss this budget before they take final action,” Dr. Hobbs said. “As you all know we’ve had a great relationship with the commissioners and I hope we can continue that working relationship and work together as far as Yadkin County Schools. This is a great school system and we’ve really made great strides and I would hope that there can be some conversation.”
The proposed budget is available to the public at the county offices located at 217 E. Willow St. in Yadkinville. A public hearing will be held on May 23 at 7 p.m. in the commissioner’s chambers for anyone wishing to be heard on the budget. County commissioners may discuss and take action, including adoption, on the FY 2013-14 budget at that time.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.