New Hanover County Board of Education votes to submit budget plan to commissioners
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —The New Hanover County Board of Education held a special meeting and voted on a budget outline, detailing the possibility of hundreds of job cuts in the district.
The Board of Education voted to submit a budget requesting $12 million from county commissioners.
Three proposed budget options were presented to the board by interim Chief Finance Officer Ashley Sutton. The board voted twice on Options One and Two, but did not vote on Option Three. Board member Stefanie Adams did not participate in any of the votes. Option Two was selected in a 4-to-2 vote.
“That is the one selected by the salary study folks that came in, the professionals that really looked at, –you know, the economy here in our area, and it’s something that they –the teachers have been asking for,” said Stephanie Walker, Board of Education member.
That plan will request $12 million from New Hanover County Commissioners, cut 230 jobs, and offering a minimum of $17 per hour for classified staff. The jobs that will be cut have not been identified.
“We’re going to look at the budget every year, and perhaps that may change, and I don’t necessarily agree that we’re going to lose all of those positions, but that’s an unknown. So, really what I was thinking about is what we need right now for our teachers to have a livable wage,” said Walker.
“It’s very important we treat our staff well. I know that there is, –their biggest concern was losing staff over the next 3 years, but at this point everything is so fluid and flexible, we don’t know what the future is going to hold, you know, three years ago when the pandemic hit, but what we’ve got to do is take care of them now,” said Judy Justice. , Board of Education member.
The job cuts would happen over three years, to cover a shortfall caused by less state and federal funding.
The details of the plan created an intense discussion.
“That’s part of governance. I do know that at least 3 people on the county commissioners over the last couple of months that told me they wanted the living $17 dollars an hour wage. Whether they’re going to actually follow through with it now will be up to them,” said Justice.
The request will now be submitted to county commissioners. The plan will be presented next month, and a budget will have to be finalized by the Board of Education by June 30.