Final budget approval from the General Assembly came during the week of July 4, 2016. Tyrrell County Schools has made every effort to keep our faculty and staff aware of the status of the budget through the Friday Report, local media, and Board of Education meetings. We continue to receive regular budget allotment revisions from the State. As of Friday, August 5 we received our fourth allotment revision for the year. Last year Tyrrell County Schools received 45 revisions through the course of the year. In preparation for the budget proposal the Superintendent and Board of Education received budget requests from district administration, held budget work sessions in March and April, hosted a tour of schools with our County Commission and approved Local budget request May 2, 2016. We appreciate the support of our County Commission and the net increase of funds we received this fiscal year.
We are very fortunate that the Classroom Teachers allotment (PRC 001) has remained stable at 27.83 positions in the 2016-2017 allotment from 27.72 in the 2015-2016 budget allotment. While we may see a revision in the future under PRC 001, we have a cushion of positions that will help us to maintain current staffing, and potentially add to current staffing in strategic areas. Principals have outlined areas of need should the opportunity arise for Tyrrell County Schools to add to current staff. Another positive area of the budget is the Small County allotment (PRC 019) which has remained constant at $1,710,000.00 for the past three years. We have also seen an increase in Low Wealth Supplemental funding and At Risk Student Services funding. Central Office reorganization has resulted in a net savings to Tyrrell County Schools. By not rehiring the Assistant Superintendent position, and by reducing staff by one clerical position, we have accrued a savings of $50,000 per year in order to offset potential revisions in the budget.
The State budget called for a Step increase for all teachers and instructional support based on the State salary schedules. Increases including the step increase range from 2.1% to 13.1%, with the average increase being 4.7%. No one-time bonuses were provided for teachers and instructional support. Step increases were approved for all principals and assistant principals. The salary step increased by an average of 1.5%. The State also provided a one-time bonus of .5% to be paid out in October 2016. For non-certified personnel a 1.5% salary increase was approved for all permanent full time personnel who were employed in 2015-16. Part time employees received a pro rata increase based on hours worked. The State also provided a one-time bonus of .5% to be paid out in October 2016. During the budget process, the Board of Education has worked to make sure that each employee receives a salary increase, regardless of the funding source.
One area of major concern for Tyrrell County Schools continues to be the allotted Average Daily Membership (ADM) comparison. We have seen an increase in ADM from 568 students in 2014-2015 to our locally projected enrollment of 587 students in 2016-2017. The State ADM projection for Tyrrell County Schools is 590 students. If State projections exceed actual ADM by an overall 2% or 100 students, then adjustments are made to the following PRC allotments (001) Classroom Teachers, (007) Instructional Support, (027) Teacher Assistants, (061) Classroom Materials, (130) Textbooks, and (013 & 014) Career & Technical Education. This could result in allotment revisions as late as January of 2017.
Tyrrell County Schools has made the decision to invest in a variety of research based curriculum initiatives to support the student learning needs in our schools in 2016-2017. Columbia Middle School will be implementing research based programs such as Accelerated Math, Star Math, Case 21 and CMP3 within the instructional day. Tyrrell Elementary School will continue to focus on solid reading behaviors at the K-5 level with a new Leveled Reader Bookroom and staff development in Guided Reading and the phonics program Letterland. Finally, the K-5 math curriculum, Math Investigations, will be implemented for all students in grades K-5. We have identified funding sources within the current budget for each of these initiatives. In addition, we have worked to add music, art and media classes at Tyrrell Elementary School as well as an instructional specialist position. We have also added an Early College Coordinator position at our high school.
A total Capital Outlay increase of 22 percent from Tyrrell County will allow Tyrrell County Schools to continue to make improvements in strategic areas. When looking at needs requests from the maintenance department, replacing the A/C unit and the roof of the auditorium are reaching a critical point given the amount of condensation coming through the roof onto the floor of the stage. We are awaiting a final bid package from engineers at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in order to begin the auditorium roof project. We will begin the replacement of the Early College Band Building roof on Monday, August 15. We have replaced all lighting at Tyrrell Elementary School with LED lighting which will save an estimated $15,000.00 per year in utilities costs. Other areas for investment will be in playground equipment, technology and replacing the existing telecommunications system, and continuing to upgrade computer hardware, computer software, and maintenance agreements.
This budget message was developed as a summary guide for the budget resolution outlined in policy 8110. In the coming years we will ensure that we follow the budget “process” outlined in policy 8100 B of Tyrrell County Schools as we develop future budgets.
Policy 8110 States:
“Through the budget resolution, the Tyrrell County Board of Education (the “Board”) appropriates sums it determines are sufficient and proper for the budget year. The Board will provide schools with maximum flexibility in the use of funds to enable the schools to accomplish their student performance goals. The school system will not expend any monies, regardless of their source, except in accordance with the budget resolution adopted by the Board.”