HILLSBOROUGH, NC 25 JUNE 2018- The Orange County Schools (OCS) 2018-19 budget was approved by the Board of Education on Monday night. District staff along with the Board of Education Budget Committee have been reviewing and discussing the upcoming budget since October 2017. The loss of the one time discretionary funding along with decreasing average daily student enrollment continues to impact the OCS budget.
The funding needed to continue operations at the same level within Orange County Schools did not materialize for the 2018-2019 school year as requested. The Board of County Commissioners were able to fund the school districts at a $174 per pupil increase. To sustain business at the current level, factoring in State mandated salary and benefit increases along with class size reductions, Orange County Schools needed an increase of $396 per pupil. The $222 per pupil deficit leaves the district facing a $1.6 million budget shortfall for the 2018-2019 school year. In order to have a balanced budget, it was necessary for the district to identify areas to reduce expenditures to have minimal direct impact to students, in addition to a fund balance appropriation.
Beginning July 1, 2018, Teacher Assistants will work on an adjusted calendar schedule. Rather than reducing the number of Teacher Assistants, the number of days on their work calendar will be reduced. Traditional and Year Round calendar Teacher Assistants will be moving to a 201 work day calendar. Currently, the Teacher workday calendar is 215 days, which includes 14 Teacher Workdays. This change alone will net a $250,000 savings to the local budget, and it will save Teacher Assistant positions.
Other budget impacts include a class size ratio change for 4th through 8th grades. The new ratio of 1:27 (teacher to student) will provide nearly $217,000 in cost savings to the district's budget. Each department in the district reduced its operating budget by 1% to help get the district closer to a balanced budget. Finally, there are vacant positions in the school system that are being frozen or eliminated. Those frozen or eliminated positions will come from the central office and a limited number of school-based positions. The positions affected by this measure include two central office Directors and support positions. This will yield $515,000 in budget savings in order to balance the budget. The total dollar amount in personnel reductions equal $982,000.