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Board Approves Budget Request for 2021-22
May 11, 2021 – For the 2021-22 school year, Guilford County Schools is requesting additional county funds to increase teacher and administrator supplements, maintain or establish a $15-an-hour base rate of pay for bus drivers and school nutrition workers, pay for increases in charter school enrollment and other anticipated administrative costs, and restore budget reductions from the 2020-21 school year.
The local portion of the budget request, approved by the Guilford County Board of Education at Tuesday’s meeting, will now move to the Board of County Commissioners.
The district is requesting an operating budget of $742,817,282 and a total budget of $807,342,432, which includes capital expenses and special revenue funds such as school nutrition. The proposed budget includes a $25 million increase in local operating funds and a $10 million increase in local funding for capital outlay.
Per state statutes, GCS and other school districts must ask county commissioners for local funding allocations each year. If approved by the Board of County Commissioners, the budget request would increase county funding to $238,213,822, excluding capital outlay. In North Carolina, county governments are responsible for funding school districts’ capital needs.
With decades of research indicating that highly effective teachers and principals have the biggest impact on student learning, the budget request would provide funds to make local pay supplements more competitive.
Since 2015-2016, GCS has increased its local supplement for teachers by just $36.20 per year or 3.8%. As a result, educator pay in GCS is losing ground in terms of teacher recruitment and retention. This year, GCS’ teacher supplement is $4,927 as compared to $5,614 in Winston-Salem Forsyth County, $7,375 in Durham County, $8,873 in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County and $8,873 in Wake County. Contreras proposed a five-year plan that would cost $13.25 million in year one.
The budget request also includes $3.6 million to offset an anticipated state pay increase of 3% for locally paid educators and a 2% pay increase for locally paid support staff as well as retirement and health insurance rate increases.
County commissioners are also being asked to maintain the $15 per hour minimum for school bus drivers they approved two years ago but have not fully funded. The proposed budget also would establish a $15 per hour minimum for child nutrition workers. These two items total $3.5 million.
Charter school enrollment growth is expected to cost $3.2 million more next year, for a total impact of $25.7 million annually. The district is also asking county commissioners for $1.4 million to restore one-time funding cuts made in the wake of the pandemic last year. These funds would be used to add back 10 of the 20 instructional days of school cut this year from Allen Jay Prep Academy, Brooks Global Studies and Johnston Street Global Studies magnet schools.
In addition, the request calls for an additional $10 million in capital outlay funds, which would be used to address deferred maintenance projects outside of any school bond-related projects.
The Board of County Commissioners is expected to hold its public hearing on June 3 and adopt a budget on June 17. Local funding accounts for slightly more than 32% of GCS total operating budget.
State allocations – which represent 60.5% of GCS’ overall budget – will not be finalized until the state legislature adopts a budget. While the district expects to receive more federal stimulus dollars, federal funding currently makes up just 7.4% of the district’s operating budget.