School Finance Officer: Budget Increase Request Is 30%, Not 20%

Johnston County Public Schools Finance Officer Art Stanley

Superintendent Seeking $19.5 Million More Next Year

Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) Finance Officer Art Stanley says the new fiscal year budget proposal released by Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow last week represents a 30 percent increase in spending, not 20 percent as earlier reported.

Stanley spoke with JoCoReport on Wednesday saying he had received a call from Johnston County Manager Rick Hester about our previous story and the school system needed to clarify the numbers.

On April 15th, JoCoReport reported that Dr. Renfrow had presented his draft budget of $83,109,560 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to the school board for review.   In a phone interview, Renfrow told JoCoReport the County had provided JCPS $69,197,029 in funding for the current  2018-2019 fiscal year.   Stanley said that amount was wrong “…but I can understand how he made that mistake.”

Stanley said Johnston County Commissioners actually provided $63,563,852 to the school system for the current fiscal year, not $69,197,029 as stated by Superintendent Renfrow.   Based on the new amount, the superintendent’s budget request represents a 30 percent increase – or $19,545,708 in additional funding – not 20 percent as we had previously reported based on the figures provided by Dr. Renfrow.

The new $83.1 million budget proposal includes funding for a 1 percent teacher supplement increase and a 5 percent increase for all certified and classified employees. An additional $2.1 million is included to give a 2 percent bonus to Restart school teachers.

The proposal also includes $1.5 million in funding next school year for 3rd through 8th grade teachers to have additional instructional resources.  Money is included to hire 53 additional full time bus drivers to reduce the number of teacher assistants (TA’s) being pulled from the classrooms to drive buses in the mornings and afternoons.

The school board will formally adopt their budget request in May, at which time the spending proposal will be forwarded to County Manager Rick Hester and Johnston County Commissioners for review.  The school board can add or delete items from the superintendent’s draft budget before forwarding the spending request to the County in May.  Commissioners will ultimately decide how much money the school system receives.