The Board of County Commissioners Education Liaison Committee met May 16 with staff and elected officials from CMS to discuss matters of mutual interest.
Management and Budget Director Hyong Yi gave attendees a brief overview of the current state of the budget.
• FY11 expenditures are expected to be below budget
• Not planning any mid-year budget reductions
• Last year at this time County projected a $33.7 million shortfall
• FY12 revenue neutral rate is .7883 and will produce $22.1 million
• FY12 – County must pay back $22.7 million borrowed from fund balance last year.
• County will lose $10.2 million in lottery money.
• FY12 focus will be on education services, debt fund, County employee compensation and fiscal discipline.
County Manager Harry Jones says his recommended budget to be unveiled Tuesday will focus on seven critical success factors identified by the BOCC:
3. Jobs/Workforce & Economic Development
4. High School Graduation and Literacy
5. Service Investments & Delivery Model
6. Fiscal Discipline
7. Operational Excellence
BOCC Chairman Jennifer Roberts noted that the media is fond of comparing Wake County with Mecklenburg County. Example is the reduction in Wake County dollars going to schools being so much lower than last year’s Mecklenburg County contribution to CMS. Roberts noted that Mecklenburg’s total dollar commitment to CMS is more than a hundred million dollars more than Wake in the past five years.
The primary agenda item for the meeting was a report on the County’s support for health services within the schools.
County Health Director Dr. Wynn Mabry reported that five years ago there were only 65 school nurses. Because of additional funding provided by the County, there now are 117 nurses including one in every middle and high school.
Dr. Mabry reports that there are a growing number of students who have no primary care physician and no dental care. He says lack of dental care can negatively impact the overall health of students. He says the group most impacted is working poor families that don’t qualify for state or federal assistance.
Dr. Mabry identified several health risks to the community and the school system including higher birth rates, especially in the Hispanic community. There are 7,500 births to single women every year, 72% African American. Dr. Mabry also identified disparities in availability of health care based on race as an issue to watch.
Commissioner Jim Pendergraph previously asked for the number of students in CMS who don’t speak enough English to do their school work. Superintendent Peter Gorman says there current are 15,865 students in CMS who qualify for the federal limited English proficiency program. Gorman identified clusters of non-English speakers as attending schools along Central Avenue. South Boulevard to Pineville and the Albemarle Road/Idlewild area.