SCHOOL FUNDING CRISIS: Guilford Superintendent Asks For an Extra $26 Million
We're hearing it from school districts across our state: they do not have the financial resources necessary to keep up with enrollment growth and guarantee a high quality education for every student. The most recent example is Guilford County Schools, which is asking for an extra $26 million to keep up with enrollment growth. Worst of all, while the cuts in recent years have already taken a heavy toll, Governor McCrory's new budget only makes things worse.
Guilford school leaders want to have money to provide driver education, as state law requires.
They want to avoid increasing class sizes again. They want to provide resources students and teachers need, such as textbooks.
So once again, they’re asking for more money.
Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green on Tuesday released his fiscal 2016 budget recommendation.
He’s asking the county for an additional $26 million in funding. Green’s overall recommended budget recommendation, with the increased local funding, is $692.9 million.
The increase would include about $14.5 million to restore cuts to schools.
The budget process is just beginning. The final funding levels would not be available until the General Assembly passes a state budget.
Meanwhile, school leaders said they’re persistently seeing increased needs and mandates but dwindling funds.
“We’re just not doing what we know is educationally sound for children,” Green said Tuesday.
It’s no longer unusual to see some core subject area have classes with more than 30 students.
Guilford enrollment has increased by more than 1,200 students since 2008-09 but there are 185 fewer full-time teacher positions, district figures show.
Enrollment in Guilford County charter schools has climbed to 4,449 students this year from 1,540 in 2008-09, according to system figures. The share of local funding going to those schools also climbed from about $3 million in 2004-05 to almost $11 million.
But the amount of local funds allocated per student has steadily dropped over seven years from $2,416 to $2,340.
The fiscal 2015 budget included almost $18 million in reductions and included a dip into the school system’s fund balance.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget would result in a loss of about $4.4 million for Guilford County Schools. That would include almost $1.2 million less for teacher assistants, $1.3 million less for driver education and $939,160 less for transportation, among other things.