Dorosin sponsored amendments three, four, five and six. His amendments are considered in conjunction with one another.
Amendment three would have decreased the CHCCS special district tax by one cent to address the funding inequity in the two school systems.
“This amendment is designed to accomplish two primary goals,” Dorosin said. “… One is to maintain the high level of education funding that we provide in the county, and the second is to try to address the funding inequities and distribute educational opportunities and resources more equitably throughout the county.”
Had amendment three passed, amendment four specified the allocation of district tax funds to CHCCS that would be decreased.
Amendment five would have increased the ad valorem tax by 1.07 cent to address the funding inequity in the two school systems. This would have made up for the funding lost by CHCCS while also providing additional funding to Orange County Schools.
Amendment six would have specified the increased funding from the increased tax to go to education.
“All we’re doing is changing the pots from which that money comes,” Dorosin said.
Dorosin said he was passionate about addressing the inequitable distribution of money and resources in the county. The CHCCS proposed budget estimates a per pupil county funding of $6,078, while OCS’s budget outlines $4,288 per pupil. Dorosin and other commissioners raised questions as to why it costs nearly $2,000 more per pupil to provide quality education in CHCCS than in OCS.
Dorosin was unable to get support from his fellow commissioners and all four of these amendments failed 6-1.
Bedford sponsored amendments seven and eight. After much discussion and revision to amendment seven, it passed, ultimately shifting $250,000 of Other Post Employment Benefits funding to the schools.
However, amendment eight, which would have increased the current expense allocation to schools by $2 million, failed.
While on the topic of school funding, Commissioner Earl McKee made an emotional and tearful plea to the Board of Education members and administrators from each district who were present at the meeting.
“Until and unless these school boards address the disparity and the outcomes and the flight in Orange County Schools to charters, I could very well quit supporting any more money for the schools,” McKee said. “ ... I don’t particularly care whether I get reelected, I’m too old to care. But I’ll tell you this, I’m not too old to care about these kids.”
The commissioners expressed interest in engaging the districts’ Boards of Education, administrators and community members in a discussion and reevaluation of funding needs before making further decisions.
The Board of Commissioners plans to vote to adopt a final version of the budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year at the June 18 regular meeting.