Thanks to the president's stimulus plan, schools in our five counties will get nearly 30 million dollars. Despite the financial shot in the arm, New Hanover County Schools will still have to cut each department's budget by five percent. Even with nine million dollars in federal stimulus money, New Hanover County still has to make cuts to the tune of ten million dollars. It is a sign of the economic times. “It’s something the whole country is facing right now. And many of us are facing it at home. So unfortunately is a familiar process,” said Valita Quattelbaum, a NHC school spokesperson. The superintendent, department heads and school board members met to revise and discuss where the budget will be slashed. Cutting back on travel expenses, raising ticket costs at sporting events, and even something as simple as cutting back on office supplies were some ideas. Last on the list is cutting teaching positions. "One thing we are attempting to do is transfer people around and move people around as much as possible so that way we can keep from eliminating jobs,” said Elizabeth Redenbaugh of the NHC school board. The stimulus money is earmarked to help pay teachers salaries and extra educational support programs. The amount of money varies. Title 1 schools, schools that have more than 35 percent of kids from low-income families will get a little more. Here's the breakdown: Bladen county schools get $1.7 million for title one schools and $1.3 million for schools with special needs programs; Brunswick $2.1 and $2.8; Columbus $1.9 and $1.6; Whiteville City schools $951,000 and $596,000; Pender county $1.1 and $1.6. The added funds will help these schools ensure educational programs don't suffer, but is it enough? From here, the New Hanover County School Board will have to approve its budget in April.
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