Superintendent Recommends Budget for 2015-16

Guilford County Schools (GCS) Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green’s recommended budget for the 2015-16 school year includes a request for a significant increase of funds from the county, but it’s an increase he says is necessary to provide quality education to students.

“In the past we have focused on cuts, and significant cuts, to compensate for budget shortfalls,” says Green. “Now that we are moving out of the Great Recession, it is time to make up for those cuts and start to adequately fund our children’s education.”

In his recommended budget, Green accounted for expected reductions and mandated spending from the state and federal programs, as well as a loss of funds to area charter schools. He calls for $205.3 million from the county, up from $179.4 million provided for the current school year. The additional $25.9 million would go to restoring previous cuts to schools, salary increases and other compensation initiatives for teachers, funding state budget impacts and mandates, paying for increases in insurance rates and other necessary expenses to keep the doors open, and to fund strategic plan initiatives to help move the district forward.

The majority of that money, approximately $14.5 million, would go to restoring cuts to schools.

“Since I’ve been superintendent we have had to increase class sizes three times,” says Green. “We’ve lost more than 200 teaching positions. That is not educationally sound. We need to get more teachers back in the schools to reduce elementary and middle school class sizes and to be able to provide more rigorous course options in the high schools.”

In addition to restoring 149 teaching positions, the money would restore funds to purchase instructional resources, classroom supplies, tutoring services and more for schools. 

“Due to the hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff, we are helping our students accomplish great things, but we know we can do better,” says Green. “However, we need the tools to move forward.”

Green’s budget also accounts for anticipated budget changes from the state, including the loss of $1.3 million in driver education funds, which the district will still be required to provide to all eligible teenagers in the county; a $1.2 million reduction in teacher assistant funds; the addition of a state-mandated American History course; and to provide the state with electronic drawings of all GCS properties.

In addition to the operating budget request, the superintendent’s recommended budget requests $10 million for the capital outlay fund to maintain the district’s schools and other facilities. GCS currently has only 31 cents per square foot for maintenance and routine repairs, up from 16 cents per square foot in 2014.

The Guilford County Board of Education will now begin the process of working through the superintendent’s recommended budget before submitting their official request to the Board of County Commissioners in May.