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April 17, 2024 5:04 am

Superintendent gives budget planning overview

GOLDSBORO — At a special called meeting of the Wayne County Board of Education Jan. 26, Superintendent David Lewis provided the board information about the budget timeline. He shared that the school district’s financial position is strong and very stable.

He stated that the school district has a healthy fund balance. Dr. Lewis also shared that he is confident that the enrollment and staffing projection process which has been in place for the past two years is working well and has aided in an effective budget planning and management process.

In planning for next fiscal year, Dr. Lewis stated that the district’s contract has ended with Centergistics, with the bulk of the savings planned to be used to implement classified salaries recently approved by the board. He cautioned that the general assembly is entering into a new budget process and there are many unknowns as to what impacts the state budget will have. He noted that the district will anticipate and plan for a 2 percent increase in local funding.

Dr. Lewis reminded the board that the school district is operating this year without the ADM hold-harmless provision in place. Despite the limitation, he noted that the enrollment and staffing projection process has allowed the school district to operate within a conservative budget.

With more than 80 percent of school-aged children in Wayne County enrolled in a WCPS school, Dr. Lewis said he hopes any additional local funding requested as part of the board’s budget priorities are considered by the board of commissioners.

Board members discussed various priorities they each felt were important in planning for the 2023-2024 budget. Over the course of the board’s discussion, several priorities and themes emerged, which included safety and security and establishing district-wide standards, warm and inviting facilities including cleanliness of campuses, exterior appearances, removal of unused or unsightly buildings, etc.; sustainability beyond ESSER funding for academics, programming, technology, etc.; employee benefits and retention and retainment opportunities including increased supplements, professional development or cross training opportunities for professional growth, etc.; efficient building utilization including student reassignment, renovations or new school construction, etc. and continued conservative fiscal practices and building of the fund balance.

As part of the budget development process, Dr. Lewis shared that he and the leadership team will now review the priorities and themes that were discussed. Information will also be communicated to directors, principals, and department heads to get their input.

— From the Wayne County Board of Education website