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Mecklenburg County schools likely to hit year-end budget target

SoVaNow.com / May 19, 2010
If revenue and expenditures behave as expected, Mecklenburg County Schools will finish the year ending June 30 with $112,543 left over — just 1 percent of the budget, consultant Dr. James Blevins told the School Board Monday.

“I don’t think you could have done any better than that,” trustee Glenn Edwards said. “That’s really tight.”

Coming in that close to budget might please the Board of Supervisors, which has chastised trustees for finishing recent school years with too much or not enough money.

Business manager Jeff Jones, in collaboration with Blevins, has been working overtime to draft the 2011 spending plan and reconciling this year’s budget following the December resignation of the finance director.

Blevins cautioned that his projection could go awry and the division could finish the year as much as $400,000 short or $400,000 over.

The trustees heard a presentation on an application that the system’s language arts coordinator has written with Joey Lively of Park View Middle School and other media specialists for a $195,438 U.S. Department of Education grant to purchase 4,828 books and other materials, as well as pay for a library management system, training, and parent workshops.

Trustees were told that the average copyright date of school division library books is 1990, while the average date for materials in the high school libraries is in the 1980s.

The amount spent per child on library materials has declined from $10.33 to $6.20 in the past four years while the cost of materials has risen sharply.

The school division expects to learn by this fall if it will receive the funding.

Trustee Sandra Tanner said her children have found it difficult to get the books they need for their reading program. The family at times buys the necessary books and then donates them to the school, she said.

Tanner said it would be nice to bring the average collection age into the mid-’90s.

In other business:

Acting superintendent Carole Nelson told the board that nine dual-enrolled Mecklenburg County high school students received associate’s degrees last weekend at the Southside Virginia Community College commencement in Alberta.

Nelson said the division has joined with other counties in the area to apply for a $5 million Investing in Innovation grant.

Wade Wilson reported that all school surplus items are available for purchase.

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