It took several hours, but the Northampton Board of Commissioners and the Northampton Board of Education reached an agreement regarding funding for the 2018-2019 fiscal year through mediation.
The Board approved the budget proposal for the year during the meeting, despite the requests to forego large funding cuts to the school system. As a response to the approved cuts, the Board sent a letter to the Board of Commissioners requesting more than $600,000 for current expenses, as well as $75,000 for capital outlay. Three million dollars was appropriated to cover expenses, as well as $595,000 to capital outlay.
The most recent mediation meeting was a result of the differing amounts. It was overseen by John Jolly Jr., a mediator from Raleigh. Each side presented their position, followed by three hours of discussion of the funding requests. They then adjourned to private mediation with Jolly to discuss the issue out of the public eye.
According to School Superintendent Dr. Monica Smith-Woofter, “Northampton offers a three percent supplement to our teachers,” Dr. Smith-Woofter said, noting that extra money helps the district remain competitive against neighboring districts. We need to be able to compete. Many of our teachers who stay in teaching go to the larger school systems. ”
There are concerns about teacher retention in the district, as well as benefits, charter school funding, after-school programs, college access for students, HR imaging services, workshop expenses, and funding for at-risk services for students.
Dr. Smith-Woofter further pointed out that it is impossible for her district to compete with those in the area when they do not have the funding to do so.