School Board delays lay-offs

Published 8:37 am Thursday, June 9, 2011

JACKSON — While Northampton County School administrative officials agree funding cuts have created a “reduction in force situation,” it’s the Northampton County Board of Education that seems to be hesitant about the circumstances.

On Monday evening, school board members were presented with information to guide the process for a personnel reduction in force and their approval was sought to move forward with the process.

“The availability of funds for the 2011-2012 school year that is driven by the state budget officials has created a reduction in force situation,” said Assistant Superintendent Phil Matthews. “Attached is all the information pertaining to the reduction in force for both classified and certified staff.”

Matthews added the administration recommended the board approve moving forward with the implementation of reduction in force for classified and certified staff to the extent that is required.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said a memorandum was already distributed as required by policy.

Board Chair Bill Little asked Bracy if he was looking for approval the plan.

Bracy he was and noted the county budget session was not done yet.

Board Vice Chair Marjorie Edwards asked if the board could hold off on approving the plan.

Dr. Bracy said that was up to the board.

Others also voiced concern about reviewing the policies included in the packet.

Lafayette Majette also wanted more time to review the documents.

“You’re asking me to approve it, but I haven’t read it,” he said.

Kelvin Edwards agreed.

“We just received it,” he said.

Little asked if the documents could be information for now and the board could come back to it to make a decision.

Bracy said it could.

Erica Smith-Ingram questioned if the RIF policy was online and if copies could be placed in the office to be reviewed by employees.

“Employees are anticipating this and they want to know,” she said.

After further discussion, Majette suggested the information in the packet be distributed to each employee via school mailbox.

Little asked Bracy to make sure the copies got to the employees.

Later in the meeting, Bracy and board members addressed the $338,462 reduction in the school system’s county appropriation.
During their last budget work session, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners agreed to the reduction to the schools current expense fund.

“My staff and I are looking at ways to recoup those funds,” Bracy said. “Some of the concerns the county manager said was that the commissioners (were concerned) with supplements. Well, teaching supplements help us recruit teachers.”

Bracy noted how at recruitment fairs supplements help in attracting teachers, especially when Northampton is sitting next to larger school districts such as Wake County.

“We’re going to have to look at ways to make up the ($338,462) deficit,” he said.

Majette agreed about the supplements and responded by saying the supplements were implemented in 1969.

“That supplement money comes from three, four sources: whiskey, wine, beer and cigarettes,” he said. “Some of that is going to the schools, some of that is going to the county, and some of that is going to the state. I know what I’m talking about because I sold beer and wine.”

Ingram and Little asked Bracy to request the commissioners to explain how they arrived at that amount.

Majette said school board members needed to attend more county commissioner meetings to see what was going on.