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News from the Board -- April 26, 2019


On Friday, April 26, 2019, the Onslow County Board of Education held a special workshop meeting to discuss the budget proposal for the upcoming school year.

The Board had budget meetings with staff scheduled for both April 26 and April 29, and Friday’s meeting focused primarily on the capital outlay budget proposal, saving the discussion on the local current expense budget for the April 29 meeting.  
Chief of Operations Steve Myers presented the Board with the proposed 2019-2020 Capital Outlay budget that he and other staff had put together following months of assessing needs, wants and priorities. Mr. Myers said that when all the capital project requests from schools and staff across the county came in for the next school year, they totaled over $16 million. From there, staff assessed the requests and determined what was a need and what was more of a want or desire. This process identified $10,236,980 worth of needs throughout Onslow County Schools. In order to get that number down to what staff felt was a reasonable ask of the commissioners, staff prioritized the needs by what is mandated by law, what is a safety need, what helps preserve properties, what is an instructional need, etc. After this process, staff came up with a $3,828,000 capital outlay budget to propose to the BOE for 2019-2020. 

The $3.8 million budget Mr. Myers presented included the top 5 most-needed roofing projects, additional mobile classrooms to accommodate the coming K-3 class size mandates, security systems, service vehicles, furniture, equipment, and other site improvements. The top 5 roofing projects identified by the budget include Southwest High, Swansboro High, two projects at Silverdale Elementary, and Richlands High.  

Board members expressed concerns that the proposed budget amount was too far below the actual amount it would take to meet the needs of schools. Board member Jeff Hudson said that he felt it was the Board’s job to present all the needs of the school system to the county commissioners and allow them to take a look and decide what kind of funding could be provided. He suggested that the Board and staff look into requesting more money for major roofing projects and less for projects like painting school interiors, considering the widespread damages the district experienced in Hurricane Florence due to roof failures. Board Chair Pam Thomas agreed, saying that the Board has a responsibility to present the school system’s needs to the county.  

Chief Financial Officer and Superintendent Barry Collins told the Board that staff came to the $3.8 million figure in an attempt to present what they thought was a reasonable request to the county commissioners, after having looked at funding patterns and trends from past budgeting seasons.  

Moving forward, Board members asked staff to take a look at ways that current capital outlay proposals could be rearranged to prioritize more immediate needs over others and to later present expanded capital outlay budget proposals, including more roofing projects, at the next meeting.