Cumberland County Board of Education unanimously approves Superintendent's recommended budget

By Staff Report, posted 1 month ago

The Cumberland County Board of Education unanimously approved the Superintendent's Recommended Budget for the 2024-2025 school year on Tuesday, May 7. This budget, titled "We Are CCS: Achieving Educational Excellence for Every Student," was originally presented by Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., superintendent of Cumberland County Schools (CCS), at the Board's regular monthly meeting on April 9.

The proposed budget emphasizes the district's commitment to addressing the needs of low-performing schools and ensuring equity across all schools. It strategically allocates funds to support these efforts, including the prudent utilization of the district’s fund balance.

The total proposed district budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year is $602,376,872. As part of the 2024-2025 budget, over $21 million from the fund balance has been earmarked to balance the budget, including funding for over 100 positions that were ESSER-funded and are imperative to strategic plan implementation. However, Dr. Connelly stressed that relying on the fund balance as a long-term solution is not sustainable and creates a significant deficiency in future budget years.

The proposed budget seeks a $3.5 million increase in local funding from the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, bringing the total allotment to slightly over $91 million, an increase of 4 percent. This funding primarily targets investing in educators with critical cost-of-living and anticipated legislative salary increases, covering inflationary operating expenses, enhancing educational programs, aligning with strategic priorities, addressing pay scales, and supporting needs at Tier 1 Performance, Accountability, Support, and Empowerment (PASE) schools designated as low-performing by the state.

“With the conclusion of the ESSER funds, we are dedicated to maintaining the current level of services and ensuring sufficient resources for implementing our strategic plan,” Dr. Connelly added in a press release.

During the Board meeting, there was a detailed discussion emphasizing the dire need to increase the district's local teacher supplements, which are funded by local funds. However, due to the cost of mandatory legislative increases, it was not feasible to add the teacher supplements funding increase as part of the local budget request for the 2024-2025 school year. The Board underscored its utmost importance and agreed that elevating local teacher supplements should be a paramount priority and a central focus area for next year's budget deliberations.

The district’s local funding request will be submitted to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners for consideration by May 15, 2024.

For more information about the Board of Education’s proposed budget for next year, visit CCS' Budget website here

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