Funding delayed

Published 6:41 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2013

JACKSON – Northampton County Public Schools will have to wait just a bit longer to collect over $100,000 from the county in previous year Capital Outlay funds.

At their most recent meeting, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners opted to delay those funds until after local government officials receive a financial update from the completion of the 2012-13 audit.

In a written request sent Sept. 23, Northampton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy asked for a reinstatement of $103,148.65 of the local school system’s previous year Capital Outlay allocation. In his letter, Bracy pointed out that the allocation was earlier withdrawn and, “normally would be considered as carryover (from the previous budget year).”

Bracy’s letter went on to say that in January of this year, the Northampton Board of Education debated the issue of whether or not to close several schools throughout the county in a cost-saving initiative.

“After much deliberation, the decision was made to only close the Alternative School and move its operations to the Gaston Middle School campus. Additionally, it was decided not to repair of replace items or systems at our other school locations,” Bracy stated in the letter.

Northampton County Manager Ken Creque informed the Commissioners that Dot Vick, the county’s Finance Officer, recommended if these funds were to be reinstated via carryover, the board needs to wait until the end of October to do so. The county’s audit of its previous year budget (2012-13) is expected to be ready at that time.

Commissioner Chester Deloatch motioned for the funds to be reinstated upon the release of the audit findings. Commissioner Virginia Spruill offered a second, but there were several questions filed prior to the vote, later leading to a different decision by the board.

“If the audit comes after our second meeting of October (Oct. 22) and it shows that we don’t necessarily need to do this (reinstate the funds), where are we at,” asked Commissioner Joe Barrett.

“That’s why I asked for the date to be pushed back until after the audit numbers have some in,” Creque responded.

“But when exactly are the audit numbers coming in,” Barrett inquired.

“The auditors have completed their work and are currently putting their final numbers together. The graph report should be to us by the end of October. The auditors are scheduled to be here to give you that report by the end of November or the first of December,” Creque said.

“My point is we can’t approve something and then the numbers come in and they’re not favorable,” Barrett stressed, prompting Spruill to recommend changing the wording of the motion to reinstate the Capital Outlay funds, “contingent upon the audit report.”

“I’m not against the school getting the money, but I think the thing to do at this point is to table this until we know what the audit says,” Barrett said.

With that, Deloatch withdrew his motion and Spruill rescinded her second. Spruill motioned to table the request coming from the school administration. Deloatch offered a second and the motion passed 5-0.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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