May 9, 2014

Schools again a top priority in Dare
County manager’s proposed budget

County Manager Bobby Outten presented his proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 at the Dare County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, May 5.  Outten outlined a plan that maintains the current property tax rate of 43 cents, the 10th lowest in the state, and also keeps the board’s priorities, including:
  • Maintaining, but not expanding, county service levels
  • Working within existing revenue sources
  • Addressing funding for the fund deficit in the insurance Fund
  • Increasing the fund balance of the general fund

In addition to these goals, the proposed budget again establishes education as a top priority, with almost 31 percent of the county budget allocated to schools and debt service. 

As presented, Dare County would contribute $3,958 per student in FY 2015, once again making Dare County Schools the top locally-funded school system in the State of North Carolina.   Not included in that total are school nurses and school resource officers, to which the county is also committed. 

While presenting his recommendations, Outten pointed out that since 2006, after the last funding was added for a new school facility, the county’s funding for schools has increased over 27 percent, while the number of students has increased less than 1 percent.  This is a pattern that is not sustainable, Outten emphasized. 

Outten also expressed great concern for the lack of maintenance being performed at local school facilities.  He said that many maintenance items that should be included as part of a school system’s operating budget have been ignored.  In addition, he said the Board of
Education did not express interest in the County’s proposal to consolidate county and school
maintenance departments to better address maintenance issues on an ongoing basis. 

In order to address the most pressing maintenance concerns identified by the Board of Education, Outten’s budget proposal directs $1.4 million of the local school funding specifically for those projects, to be paid by the County as completed. 

To view a video of Manager Outten’s presentation of proposed funding for schools and additional information regarding the FY 2015 proposed budget, visit the Dare County website at www.darenc.com

The Board of Commissioners will conduct a public hearing for the proposed budget at its meeting on Monday, May 19, at 5:30 p.m.  Additional information regarding the hearing is also available on the website.



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