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Wilson County School Board approves budget to save staffing positions

Last Thursday, the Wilson County School Board approved changes to the 2020-2021 budget to prevent the elimination of 41 teaching positions and 95 educational assistants. This had been a major concern of parents and the community.

Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall presented a budget to the board that would balance next year’s General-Purpose School Fund without any tax increase. This proposal will take care of the expected $10 million worth of cuts for the system.

Director of Schools Donna Wright explained that she and Hall had worked with the high school principals to implement an AB schedule which allows moving teachers between schools in order to fill vacancies. This schedule requires fewer teachers and will prevent approximately 41 teachers from losing their jobs.

Money will be transferred from the Employee Health Insurance Fund to fund the cost of 95 teacher assistants, pay stipends to mentors, tech coaches and portfolio reviewers.

The purchasing of the English Language Arts textbooks will be delayed until the 2021-2022 school year, which saves $1.2 million. However, all the textbooks will have to be purchased the following year with a much bigger expenditure of $3.5 million.

The balancing of this budget cannot provide the funding of the Adult High School and Adult Basic Education programs. Hall will present to Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto and the Wilson County Commission a request to fund these through the county’s General Fund.

Hall also clarified that the sales tax increase for teacher raises will still be earmarked for such purpose and will be adjusted in May 2021.

This budget proposal will be presented to the Wilson County Joint Education and Budget Committee meeting on Thursday, May 22.

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