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The Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education passed the 2019-20 local budget in a 5-2 vote at Monday night’s board meeting.

Ken Poindexter and Bill Howell voted no.

Discussion over the local budget has taken place since February, but up until Monday, the board was unable to come to an agreement as many wanted to wait until the state signed a budget.

Martin Page told the board Monday night, “We’ve discussed this budget till we are all really disgusted with the fact that we don’t have a state budget. So, there are many things we do not know but we do know there are things in the local budget that need to be looked at and approved.”

In approving the 2019-20 local budget, the school board approved more than $2.2 million in fund balance use. This will leave the fund balance at roughly $5.3 million, the lowest the fund balance has been in the last three years.

Chief Financial Officer Melissa Wike notified the board during preliminary budget discussions in June she would recommend the board spend no more than $1.5 million in fund balance.

But Iredell-Statesville Schools currently employs 12 more teachers than originally included in the preliminary budget. Page said the 12 additional teachers added roughly $600,000 to fund balance use.

Add in money lost due to flat charter school enrollment and a decline in enrollment at restart schools and the additional money necessary that was not included in the preliminary budget rises to $800,000. The end result — using $2.3 million in fund balance.

As passed, the budget covers the 12 additional teaching positions that were added to the payroll at the beginning of the school year. This includes a fifth teaching position at Union Grove Elementary School and a teaching position at Third Creek Elementary School.

Both of the teaching positions had come under recent scrutiny when discussing possible cuts, but the board ultimately decided to use the fund balance to pay for them.

While it is not clear if the board ever seriously considered cutting these positions, Page said he wanted to reassure the public all 12 positions were included in the budget passed but clarified to the public that the board only has authority to give the money.

“It is up to the administration to transfer and remove teachers/principals,” Page said.

In other board news:

» The school board voted down Bill Howell’s motion to give classified employees a $100 monthly increase over concerns about using additional fund balance.

The increase would have cost the board an additional $1.23 million. Charles Kelly, Page, Todd Carver and Sam Kennington voted no.

Howell, Poindexter and Chuck Gallyon voted for the motion

» The school board pass-ed the 2020-21 calendar:

First day of classes is Aug. 5.

Last day of classes is May 26.

Fall and spring break aligns with Mitchell Community College.

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