School Superintendent Asks For 20 Percent Budget Increase

Superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools Dr. Ross Renfrow presented his draft 2019-2020 budget to the Board of Education at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 9th.

Dr. Renfrow is seeking a 20 percent increase in funding from Johnston County Commissioners this year. Specifically, the school superintendent is asking for $83,109,560, an increase from the $69,197,029 received from the County for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The new 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.  “We need to give those teachers the resources to make an impact on student achievement,” Dr. Renfrow told JoCoReport.   “We want teachers to know that because their work in the classroom directly impacts learning, it stands to reason that we maintain our focus on the profession of teaching. We are extremely grateful for a Board of Education that is committed to addressing our financial needs. Having their fingers on the pulse is the support we need to help draft this robust budget.”

Money is included to hire 53 additional full time bus drivers.   Dr. Renfrow said the goal is to reduce the number of teacher assistants (TA’s) being pulled from the classrooms to drive buses in the mornings and afternoons. “We want to attempt to keep TA’s in the classroom with kids helping them learn and get other people behind the steering wheel of a bus.”

Other than the 53 full-time bus drivers, there are no additional positions being sought next year, Dr. Renfrow said.

Funds are included to expand transportation to all Fire Academy and IDEAL students.

“I cannot stress enough how thankful we are to have Board members who are mindful that students and their success are the driving force behind the work we all do. I’m proud to serve, and we are committed to advocating for the funds we need to advance teaching and learning,” said Mike Wooten, Chairman, Johnston County Board of Education.

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.