Stanly schools request large budget increase

ALBEMARLE — With the Stanly County Commission seeking recommendations from various departments before they address the budget in mid May, the school system made a presentation to commissioners on the level of funding they were seeking.  

Andy Lucas, the county manager, said what they asked for would be “extremely difficult to do at the current level of funding for the county, especially with so many other areas that we need to provide for.”  

A copy of the presentation obtained by Stanly County Journal showed the school system was requesting an increase of 38 percent in their overall budget, going from $12.8 million in 2018-2019 to $17.7 million in 2019-2020.  

The largest area of increases was for personnel costs, as the schools were seeking raises for their employees. They sought to nearly double their personnel budget, from $5.6 million in 2018-2019 to $9.9 million in 2019-2020 — a 43 percent single-year increase. 

Lucas said that because the commission has already stated that they were not raising taxes, he has “no way of recommending” increases at the level requested by the schools. He believes dramatic increases of the kind requested would require new sources of funding like a significant tax increase, and there isn’t an appetite locally to introduce that at the moment.