The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board of Education met Thursday night to discuss the superintendent’s recommended budget in the wake of COVID-19.
Patrick Abele, assistant superintendent for CHCCS, prefaced the meeting by acknowledging the current health crisis will cause some difficult financial decisions to be made regarding the 2020-2021 school year.
The budget comprises of seven initiatives, which include adding 13 additional K-3 classroom teachers and teacher assistants due to class size reductions, paid parental leave, paid inclement weather days and vision and life insurance for employees.
The total cost of these items is $3,623,000.
Some board members said they were worried about the larger impacts adding more teachers would have on the school system.
“Just the idea of when you add on a teacher, it’s not just a teacher,” board member Ashton Powell said. “It’s everything else that goes with it, not just their salary and benefits.”
Board member Rani Dasi said one of the biggest questions not addressed in the budget is whether students will start the upcoming school year virtually or in-person because either scenario will require different types of resources.
CHCCS Interim Finance Officer Jonathan Scott presented the projected revenues for the 2020-2021 school year and noted that, due to current economic conditions, the numbers could decrease.
CHCCS currently estimates their fiscal year end unassigned fund balance at $8.75 million, above the county’s target of 5.5 percent, or $4.5 million.