School Board close to finalizing new budget

New teacher compensation plans in the works.

Moore schools Superintendent Tim Locklair presented his proposed operating budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year to the Board of Education at its March 11 meeting.

The updated projections would require an increase in funding from the county of $1,340,200 — increasing the local contribution to a proposed $3,540,200 — while pulling money from existing cash and using other methods, including leaving some vacant positions unfilled, some technology expenses being covered by a federal rural grant and other measures help to offset the extra spending.

The superintendent noted that, thanks to staff vacancies, unspent funds were reallocated over the year to continually rebalance the budget, and these funds must still be budgeted for next year.

“We haven’t spent all of that fund balance in the last couple of fiscal years as a part of our vacancies,” Locklair explained. “It’s important that, even though we may not spend that fund balance, you have to incorporate that into your overall budget to budget for your needs if you were fully staffed and we had all positions filled. It’s important that we incorporate that into our fixed-cost projections.”

Locklair noted that his team has been working to reduce the amount of fund balance and savings account funds that would be appropriated, bringing efficiencies to spending.‌

In total, the proposed operating budget for the school system is $166,369,760, with the School Board giving final budget approval in April so it can be presented to the County Commissioners in May.

In other business, the board approved a $112,800 contract with Public Impact — a company that aims to contribute to dramatic improvements in the quality of public education — funded through a NCDPI ATR grant to support a sustainable district model for advanced teaching roles.

“This is a grant that we’ve been working on for a number of years,” said deputy superintendent Mike Metcalf. “We received a grant for $500,000, which we’re very excited about.”

According to Metcalf, the grant will help address a lack of meaningful opportunities for career advancement for experience and effective teachers without leaving the classroom, and to help novice teachers get the embedded professional support they need to be successful.

The district is proposing to restructure the organizational model from the old system, where the principals oversaw the entire school, to a tiered approach which implements lead teacher positions which oversee a team of teachers.

Per Senate Bill 681, the purpose of this program will be to enable districts to create innovative compensation models that focus on classroom teacher professional growth that lead to measurable improvements in student outcomes and allow highly effective classroom teachers to teach an increased amount of students, become a lead classroom teacher accountable for the student performance of students within a team or lead a larger effort to implement new instructional models.

In addition to the $500,000 grant, NCDPI is providing $150,000 in additional funding to support immediate implementation as well as money for state-funded salary supplements at a rate of $10,000 per lead teacher and $3,000 for support positions.

The Moore County Schools Board of Education will next meet April 15.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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