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Granville school board approves annual budget

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OXFORD — During a brief, 20-minute work session, the Granville County Board of Education on Monday voted unanimously to approve the 2019-20 budget.

The budget will now be submitted to the Granville County Board of Commissioners for final approval later this month.

If the new budget is approved, the school system will operate on a local budget of $17.8 million, which is an increase from $15.3 million last year. The increased budget comes as enrollment in the county deceased to 7,483 students this year compared 7,582 last year. Charter school enrollment increased from 1,184 in 2018 to 1,410 in 2019. By state law, part of the local budget must go toward charter schools - in this case $3.3 million of the budget.

Other challenges outlined in the budget package included reduction in state funding based on reduced enrollment, increased personnel cost, and trying to lessen reliance on fund balance. Solutions agreed to in the package included cutting the budget to reflect the reduced enrollment and consolidation of schools due to the future closures of Joe Toler-Oak Hill Elementary School and Mary Potter Middle School, both in Oxford.

The board will also ask the county for $686,000 in funding for transitional services as well as continuation funds for increased personnel cost. Proposed Capital Outlay funding requests for school projects would be $1.3 million.

The larger parts of the budget include $3.5 million for plant operations and $1.1 million each for central services administration/technology, non-instructional support personnel, and supplements/non-employee benefits.

"The work regarding this budget has been incredible this past 6-7 weeks," said Granville County superintendent Alisa McLean.

McLean said the public hearing on the budget would take place May 20 at the county commissioners meeting.

After approval of the budget, the board also approved bids for $1.9 million each to Comfort Systems USA, LLC and Piedmont Service Group for installation of HVAC systems in the gyms of J.F. Webb and South Granville high schools. The installations will take place during the summer as well as maintenance on the HVAC systems currently installed at the schools.

"The total cost for the project was budgeted at $4.5 million," said Stan Winborne, director of high school instruction. "The reason we were able to get the bids as low as they were was that these companies were going to be on the sites anyway so this is the best time for those jobs." Winborne said that the $700,000 leftover would go toward other high-priority school projects.

The next meeting of the Granville County Board of Education is scheduled for May 6 at 6 p.m. at 101 Delacroix St., Oxford.