Amidst a state budget impasse, local school districts are facing uncertainty concerning funding.
On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) held a joint meeting with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) Board of Education and the Orange County Schools (OCS) Board of Education to discuss this topic.
CHCCS Board of Education Member Rani Dasi said she was wary that a state budget would even be approved for the next fiscal year. She said while the budget impasse continues, government institutions continue to operate by the previous budget’s stipulations.
“I’ve heard comments that they don’t have plans to approve a budget next year as well,” she said.
One of the issues that provoked Gov. Roy Cooper into vetoing the proposed state budget in June 2019 was insufficient teacher raises. Board of Education members from both districts suggested that Orange County should fund teacher raises while the budget deadlock persists.
“I think one of the things we should discuss here is the possibility of getting one-time payments of some sort from the County if possible to help offset this problem that we can’t solve ourselves, especially with some of these unfunded mandates that we have to do," said Will Atherton, chairperson of the OCSBE.
CHCCS Chairperson Mary Ann Wolf said some districts like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have been able to give teachers raises despite not having a state budget.
"That is something else that we want to keep in mind as we're trying to predict and anticipate," she said.
Historically, funding provided by counties in North Carolina has been retroactive, but board members said they are unsure if that will be the case when the next budget gets passed.