Cost reduction measures approved

Published 10:51 am Tuesday, July 10, 2012

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Board of Education took a major step towards eliminating an expected $1.2 million budget shortfall Tuesday night.

The school board approved a list of recommendations from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins with only one exception.  The board declined to eliminate two assistant principal positions, but agreed with the rest of the proposals.

Several of the proposals deal with personnel, including the elimination of one Central Services position, which was not identified. That will save the district an estimated $55,000 per year.

The superintendent also recommended eliminating 10 positions because of the consolidation of Bertie High School and Bertie Prep. That total savings was the highest cutback at $650,000.

Harris-Rollins also asked to eliminate two assistant principal spots at a savings of $110,000, but that proposal was rejected.

Other personnel changes include the elimination of salary differentials at the end of certain contracts at a savings of $38,767.

Two other proposals were accepted, but their actual savings has yet to be determined. They include paying all classified personnel per the scale for their current position and paying coaches per the new supplement scale.

The other part of the list was a group of miscellaneous recommendations which included several changes for the district and the sale of the former C.G. White High School property.

In addition to selling the school in Powellsville, the board also agreed to sell five vehicles in the district for which they hope to receive $10,000.

Other savings for the board included changes in policy to remove all personal refrigerators, toaster ovens, microwaves and coffee pots which will save the district $12,000.

They will also limit travel to the tune of a $15,000 savings and eliminate academic field trips for another $15,000. Also removed will be some cell phones, including those for clerical, assistant principals, the board of education and all spare numbers.

Also eliminated is the driving of all transportation and maintenance vehicles home which will save an estimated $12,500 per year.

The board also approved replacing bus radios with cell phones which will allow for an 85 percent savings if they can be funded through e-Rate.

The board also agreed to reduce attorney fees by $50,000 per year and eliminate two upgrades that would save a combined $40,000.

Following closed session discussions on one part of the proposal, the board emerged and discussed the issue. Following their short discussion, board member Pamela Chamblee made the motion to accept all the recommendations from Harris-Rollins except for the reduction of two assistant principals. That motion passed without objection with board member Alton Parker not present.

Chamblee also made a motion to add an assistant principal at Bertie High School. The board approved that motion with the same vote.

Also, the board agreed to a pair of motions by board member Rickey Freeman to declare C.G. White surplus and offer it to the Bertie County Commissioners and to declare the five vehicles surplus.