OXFORD — Granville County’s school board has asked the County Commissioners to raise local spending in K-12 education by $758,591 in fiscal 2021-22.
Because charter schools that serve Granville County students get a cut of the local allocation, the increase would actually translate into an additional $584,115 for the Granville County Public Schools, district officials said.
System officials say the additional money would cover their estimate of the increased costs that come with state-mandated salary and benefit changes for teachers and other employees.
Board members approved the request on April 19. Member Tom Houlihan said that county leaders have “heard clearly the money that we need for personnel” cost increases. They have made “no promises” about fully funding the system’s request, but have yet to signal that it “ain’t going to happen.”
The request amounts to about a 4.4% increase on the present county subsidy of K-12 operations, and if granted would push the annual subsidy to $17.4 million, up from fiscal 2020-21’s $16.6 million.
The 37 charter schools that serve Granville County students would collectively receive about $4.2 million in fiscal 2021-22, about 11% more than the $3.7 million in local money they’re receiving now.
Either way, that’s more than the $3.3 million in local money — largely revenue from property taxes — that Granville County Public Schools officials expect to spend in the upcoming fiscal year on pay supplements for teachers over and above the state’s pay scale.
Like all traditional K-12 school systems in the state, Granville’s gets the majority of its money from the N.C. General Assembly and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. But each year’s allocation varies with a system’s enrollment, and GCPS has been losing students to charter schools.
Officials expect that trend to continue in fiscal 2021-22.
The budgett’s built around local and state assumptions that while there will be a slight increase in the number of K-12 students from Granville County, charter schools will absorb that and continue to siphon students away from GCPS campuses.
Projections indicate that the Granville system will shrink to 6,800 students in the coming year — a 5% drop from the 2020-21 school year’s 7,160.
They also suggest charter schools — not all of them in Granville County or even the Tri-County region — will enroll 2,066 students from Granville County in the upcoming school year. That’s nearly a 24% increase on the current 1,671.
The loss of enrollment will trigger the loss of nearly $2.5 million in annual funding from the state, and a reduction, district officials say, of 25 full-time jobs in the district.
Traditional K-12 systems also rely on local funding for major construction and repair expenses, and the Granville system’s budget request asks County Commissioners for almost $1.5 million in such aid.
That’s a $35,900 increase to the current allocation, and is in line with an increase county officials are floating for their own government’s capital spending.
Those figures don’t include money from the $15 million the county pledged to the school system in 2017 to clean up and prevent mold and ventilation problems in the district’s schools.
Houlihan asked whether officials have considered asking the county for more than $1.5 million, given that the school district’s facilities have a lot of problems that go beyond mold and decrepit HVAC systems.
“They came up with the $15 million, but what’s the next thing coming down the line?” he said. “Our job by law is to tell them what we need, and their job is to figure out how to fund it.”
But Beth Day, the system’s assistant superintendent for finance, said the system’s prior requests for major increases in capital aid haven’t gotten anywhere.
Contact Ray Gronberg at email@example.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.