School Board, County Commissioners Issue Statements On Budget Crisis

Resolution Expected Within 2 Weeks

The Johnston County School Board and Johnston County Commissioners issued separate statements today (Monday) addressing a potential $8.8 million budget shortfall for the school system.

Prior to his resignation last week, former interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Causby said a Reduction in Force (RIF) plan was being put into place potentially impacting as many as 480 school personnel who could face layoffs as early as March unless County Commissioners approved additional funding.

The Board of Education released the following statement:

On Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, after the unexpected resignation of the Interim Superintendent, the Board Of Education Finance Committee immediately held an emergency meeting. The Finance Committee, Teresa Grant, Ronald Johnson, and Mike Wooten, met to develop a plan to prevent a reduction in staff. The Finance Committee is in the process of developing a plan of action that will prevent Johnston County Public Schools from enacting a reduction in force.

On Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, Chairman Sutton, Ronald Johnson, and Mike Wooten met with County Manager Rick Hester and County Commissioner Jeff Carver to discuss supplemental funding to protect classroom teachers, teaching assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and other staff essential to the day to day operations of Johnston County Public Schools. The Board of Education is committed to providing quality education and will continue to work diligently to protect our employees. We want to express our gratitude to the Johnston County Commissioners for their continued support of the Board of Education.

Chairman Sutton has designated Board Member Ronald Johnson to act as the liaison to the County Commissioners to discuss obtaining supplemental funding and address the budget shortfall. We are optimistic a resolution will be reached in the next 14 days. If budgetary cuts become necessary, we will first protect those in the classroom and employees who work with students on a daily basis. The Board of Education’s number one priority is the district’s 37,000 students. We are moving forward in a positive direction and we will keep the public informed as new information becomes available.

We want to thank everyone, especially our staff, for making Johnston County Public Schools an environment where students grow, learn, and achieve.

Johnston County Commissioners also issued a statement indicating they hope to reach a resolution soon, however they will be asking the school system for detailed financial records from the past 12 months, and going forward detailed financial records every month.

A supplemental funding plan for the remainder of this school year is being discussed with representatives of the Board of Education.  We are confident there will be a resolution soon.  The Board of Commissioners is requesting detailed financial information from Johnston County Public Schools for the previous twelve months.  In addition, the Board of Commissioners is requesting Johnston County Public Schools and Johnston County Government to share detailed financial information with each other on a monthly basis.

Commissioner Chairman Ted Godwin told JoCoReport Monday afternoon, “I am confident that our board will approach this in a deliberate manner and come to the right determination. I am also confident that both boards working together will have this problem addressed adequately before any operational issues occur in our schools. I think we’ll get through this and create a situation that will help avoid this problem in the future.”

Also, the Johnston County School Board has scheduled a Special Called Meeting for 6:00PM tonight. The meeting will be held in closed session to discuss personnel.