Lee school board sends budget increase request to commissioners

May. 15, 2014 @ 07:59 AM

The Lee County Board of Education officially requested a budget increase from the county of several million dollars on Tuesday night.

The board had discussed the budget request — an increase of more than $3 million, to $18.8 million from a current budget of $15.4 million — at a previous meeting without officially approving it. Now that the request is official, by a unanimous vote, it will go to the Lee County Board of Commissioners for consideration.

School board member Tamara Brogan said the requested funding increase is appropriate and something the board "should be proud of."

"We have a responsibility to ask for what we need, for our children, to provide them a good education," she said.

It's unclear if the Lee County Commissioners, who cut about half a million dollars from the schools last year, will approve all, some or none of the requested funding increase, or if they will institute further cuts. The county's budget decisions must be finalized before the new fiscal year starts July 1.

It's also unclear if the commissioners will accept the additional $1.5 million request for capital funds. At the last meeting of the commissioners, County Manager John Crumpton recommended moving many capital projects the county funds — for the schools, the county government and Central Carolina Community College — back by a year or more because of the large amount of money in question.

Over the next several years, Crumpton said last week, the county is looking at about $92.3 million in various capital funding requests, mainly from the schools and CCCC.

The board also used Tuesday's meeting to honor James “Jay” H. Randolph V for being the only local student selected to attend Governor's School this summer. The program is an academic camp for elite students; Randolph is first in his class at Southern Lee High School and an all-conference tennis player in addition to being involved in community service.

He thanked the school board, saying that both of his parents attended Governor's School and he's glad to follow in their footsteps while also getting the chance to challenge himself academically among equally intelligent students from across the state.

“I have a great passion for math, and this is going to be a great experience I'll have for the rest of my life,” he said.

The board also:

* Recognized the custodial staff of Franstine Brown, Michael Collins and Charles Guin from Greenwood Elementary School with the Clean School of the Month award.

* Recognized Elizabeth Schrull from Lee County High School for having the Web Page of the Month.

* Saw a presentation from the student news broadcasting team at J.R. Ingram Elementary School, and from students at Greenwood Elementary School who spoke about the field trip they took to an art museum in Raleigh, and also how they used paintings to learn about math, science and social studies in addition to art.

* Honored Sharon Spence, the district's public relations officer, for being named president of the North Carolina School Public Relations Association.

* Signed a contract for the Education and Workforce Innovation Program, which will help fund the Central Carolina Works initiative to get more high school students taking dual-enrollment courses at CCCC.

* Approved the first reading of dozens of policy changes, either made locally or mandated by the state, pending a handful of changes to correct grammatical errors.

* Approved the consent agenda.