Surprise! Craven County Schools is broke

Is anyone really surprised Craven County Schools is reportedly $3.5 million in the hole, according to the Board of Education and a recent article in the New Bern Sun Journal?

Their “critical concerns” as pointed out in a PowerPoint presentation obtained by this writer include having less than $500,000 in the Local Fund Balance with the largest portion of those funds allocated to staff.

Craven County Schools’ personnel should be a hot topic now but it’s not. The Board of Education came up with several suggestions for saving money including reducing the number of local teacher assistants and months worked by clerical employees to cutting back on janitorial staff – all to save around $500,000. There’s even discussion around reducing bus assistants in the Exceptional Children’s program. That option would save about $150,000, according to their documentation.

So what we have is a Board of Education willing to make cuts to those who make the least in Craven County Schools. We all know janitors aren’t pulling in six-figure salaries like the superintendent nor are they at the level of the Public Information Officer, who makes around $80,000 per year, according to documentation from the district.

Consider a huge “what if” scenario: Board of Education members step up to the plate and put their money where their mouths are. Each member receives mileage and is provided a salary for their service. What if they actually become public servants and volunteer? That would free up some funds, albeit not a lot, but it might save a few dollars for teacher assistants who wonder each year if they’ll have a job.

What if the board cut back on Superintendent Lane Mills’ monthly allowance for mileage, which totals more than most people’s car payments? Mills receives $750 a month for in-county travel, according to the district.

In a recent report published by the Sun Journal, Mills’ “current pay consists of a base salary of $131,688; a local supplement of $4,135 monthly to total $49,620 annually; $750 each month for in-county travel expenses; $200 per month for personal cell phone and home internet usage; and longevity pay totaling $6,263.01,” according to Finance Officer Denise Altman.

But board members don’t want to talk about their salaries nor do they want to discuss the top-heavy administration. Some of their other options for filling the gap include reducing services in the Exceptional Children’s program, which makes complete sense since the district is in a very public fight with a special needs mom and is also in the middle of an investigation initiated by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding special education services.

This brings me to another option for saving funds. What if the school district didn’t need to hire several law firms to represent itself because it did the right thing for once? According to the last audit, which has been called into question, the district overspent on legal fees by $60,000 during the past fiscal year.

In discussing the audit, I would be remiss if I did not include Chairman Carr Ipock’s assertion during the board’s last meeting that the auditor made some mistakes and no General Statutes were broken, as previously reported. So, I’m guessing the district might want to hire a more competent auditor.

Because this post is getting so long, I will end on one last note. The board hired a consulting firm to redistrict all of its schools this past year. While I don’t have the figures on the cost to the system, one of the solutions to the problem regarding the shortfall or “crisis” is to close a school. Now, why hire a firm, redistrict the entire county, then months later consider the closure of a school because you suddenly realized money’s tight?

Check back for the next article on the school district’s sudden realization they’re broke.

Contact Gisela at gisela@cctaxpayers.com. I look forward to your comments, concerns and questions.

4 Responses to Surprise! Craven County Schools is broke

  1. Raynor James says:

    Thank you, Grassroots G, for showing us the ugly underbelly of the financial problems in Craven County schools. Those in power wouldn’t think of reducing their own benefits when they can save money painlessly (to themselves) by taking it out of the hides of those with less power and lower incomes.

  2. Kim says:

    But, but, but, we stupid little people, we just don’t understand……and this is proactive! The budget issues are in the future, so far this year, CC is in the Black.

  3. Sheryl toler says:

    And after paying for the redistricting in Vanceboro 3 times they removed 6 children to Bridgeton. Lot of money spent to relocate six kids. An extra hour and 45 minutes a day of bus time to transport these 6 kids. Geniuses at work.

Leave a Comment

Design and Hosting by Right Coast Webs
%d bloggers like this:

The Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association is a grassroots, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, that advocates for minimum government and maximum freedom.
We are dedicated to the preservation of free enterprise and the United States Constitution. As such, we do not endorse or advocate for any political party or candidate.
Posts on our Blog and Website are often re-posted from other sites and are for informational purposes only. They should not be considered a political endorsement.
We consider ourselves to be Constitutional Conservatives and endeavor to promote those values and principles.
The tea party is not a political party and our identification and association with the tea party is strictly based on their similar beliefs
and activities as a grassroots movement to uphold and support the Constitution of the United States. Among its goals are limiting the size of the federal government,
reducing government spending, lowering the national debt, and opposing tax increases.
We do promote and encourage these values which should not be confused with or construed as a political endorsement of a particular party.
The news items, blogs, educational materials and other information in our emails and on our website are only
intended to provide information, news and commentary on events and issues. Much of this information is based upon media sources,
such as the AP wire services, newspapers, magazines, books, online news blog and news services, and radio and television, which we deem to be reliable.
However, we have undertaken no independent investigation to verify the accuracy of the information reported by these media sources.
We therefore disclaim all liability for false or inaccurate information from these media sources.
We also disclaim all liability for the third-party information that may be accessed through the material referenced in our emails or posted on our website.
Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association, Inc.
4807 Delft Drive Carolina Colours New Bern NC 28563 Phone (252) 649-0525