The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

August 10, 2012

School board to discuss budget cuts

Staff Writer

TARBORO — Deep budget cuts will be a topic of discussion when the Edgecombe County Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the district board room, located in the administration building at 415 Pearl St. in Tarboro.

The 2012-2013 budget resolution calls for $2.2 million in cuts, including seven classroom teaching positions. In all, a total of 56 positions were cut, including instructional coaches, attendance counselors and guidance assistants. The number of teacher assistants, school clerical positions and custodian positions has also been reduced as part of the cuts.

“It’s difficult whenever we have employees who have lost their jobs,” said Supt. John Farrelly. “We intend to provide outstanding instructional programs for students despite the budgetary challenges public schools across the state have incurred in the past three years.”

The school system’s state allotment was also reduced in part because of the opening of the new charter school, North East Carolina Prep. The charter has an announced enrollment of 387 students and the school system estimates an increase in charter school payments of $343,793 this year.

The budget also called for the closure of the Roberson Center for Educational Achievement, an alternative school for at-risk students in grades six through 12. The school closed June 11. The 27 students at Roberson will return to their original schools, said school district spokesperson Lauren Edmondson. She said Darrell Richardson, former Roberson principal, will head up the district’s alternative learning program and assist students on an “as needed” basis.

Another program designed to counsel students with behavioral problems and reduce suspensions, Students Targeting Alternatives for Reaching Success (STARS), was also cut. The budget also called for cutting extra funding for new teacher supplies and the closure of the Early Learning Center. The center’s pre-kindergarten classes will be relocated to G.W. Bulluck.

“Edgecombe County Public Schools had absorbed state cuts from 2002 through 2006 while incurring rising costs,” according to the district’s budget message. “For the next fiscal year, we implemented many budget reductions, including a reduction in force, to bring our expenditures in line with our revenues.”

Another action item on the board’s agenda is approval of a $997 tuition rate for students outside of the school district attending the county schools for the upcoming year.

The board will also vote on approval of a Title V State Abstinence Education Grant. Abstinence education initiatives will focus on students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.