Translation of the 2017-18 Proposed Moore County Budget

Whew that Board of Ed meeting was chock full of info. The Pilot has had a few good articles so far which you should read. I wanted to give my take of the budget part here.
First let me say I am no financial whiz and not an MCS staffer, so my opinions are my own. However, I have spent the last 6 years with my nose in MCS business because of the funding deficits I saw. I stood up for Dr. Bob in the midst of those years because I thought the situation was wrong – not because of any personal loyalty to him. He and his staff are incredibly thorough in their research and planning – which is not to say I agree 100% with all decisions, but enough to keep fighting. My loyalty is to my kids and OUR community kids in Moore and I have been paying attention. The incredible value and education my 2 kids are getting is second to none in this county. If I truly thought alternative schools in Moore or my own home offered better, I’d go. And loudly. This is still true and I continue to fight.

The good news is that hundreds of county people have spoken up about the funding crisis in education. I personally have traveled Moore to explain this is mostly a man-made disaster courtesy of Raleigh (see here for the details of that). Unfortunately, moving the mountain of politics in the state house is slow. Thousands of people just like us are on their case too, but it will take an election to show legislators if they’re not working for public education, they’re out. They put off (NOT FIXED) most of the class size reduction expenses for one year (delaying the loss of 11 teachers, 3 school nurses, 8 digital education facilitators, 2 IT techs, 1 psychologist/social worker, & 1 school counselor for one year). No new funds or fix are in place for next year.
Now the bad news. Until the screws in Raleigh can be undone, our public schools still need funding by August. That means the commissioners’ county budget. That means our schools need our money. I’ve heard from every corner of this society that they are willing, but we don’t make the budget. The commissioners need to hear it again since they do. Here’s why: the proposed budget from the county shifts $1,502,060 from other county school funds (Peter? Paul?), while it adds only $559,777 in new funds. That’s good. It just simply isn’t enough to prevent known cuts (unknown what Raleigh will do in their budget for this year which, by the way, doesn’t come out until late summer and makes up 2/3 of expected MCS funding).
In addition to previous years’ cuts MCS has recently cut 2 maintenance techs, 1 accountability & research admin assistant, 1 communication specialist, 1 communications admin assistant, and the grants administrator.

So here’s what else we’ll lose unless we do more. In general order of certainty of being cut:
• Local teacher curriculum design program
• Funds for digital licenses/content and textbooks
• Planned expansion of digital learning to grades 3,4,5 with devices and 1 add’l staff
• Funds to repair/maintain current facilities
• 2 more maintenance techs
• 1 school police officer (SRO)
• Night-evening maintenance staffing (broken pipe after hours??)
• 2 lead instructional coaches (teachers who teach teachers)
• Teacher and staff continuing education courses (needed to keep teaching license)
• 8 media tech assistants (techs who fix teachers’/kids’ computers)
• Curriculum and instruction head
• 5 teacher assistant workdays
• Supplies funding to each school
• Maintenance funding to each school
• 2.5 school receptionists (brrring..brrring…)
• 9 custodians
• Human resources admin. assistant
• Payroll admin. assistant
• 1 high school athletic trainer
• 2 assistant principals
If any of these cuts sound like nothings to you, ask a teacher, administrator or staff member who will now be doing the extra work. Remember these cuts when the phone rings off the hook and emails aren’t returned because teachers/admin/staff are too busy with “nothings”. Remember these cuts when things break and take a long time to be fixed or when you are asked to bring in more supplies. Not what you want? Me neither. Let’s DO SOMETHING.
The proposed county commissioners’ budget is out. June 6, 5:30 at the Carthage Historic Courthouse is the only public hearing on their plan. Each signed in speaker gets 3 minutes, with a cumulative time limit of 2 hours. If you’ve ever showed up to a community talk, a previous commissioner or BOE meeting, read the paper or anything put out by Parents for Moore, then you have an interest in attending. If you own property, a business, work or live in Moore and/or care about the quality of our community, then you have an interest in attending. Representative government only works if we communicate what we expect, clearly and often. Here is the commissioners’ contact info to call or write as well. Help them represent us. Show up June 6th.

Karin Kent

Laundry List to Our State Leaders

Dear Sirs:

I am afraid this email will again fall on deaf ears, but I am writing regarding my continued distress at the devastating cuts and under-funding from the state level to Moore County Schools. I know your answers to my emails are complicated by the fact that I understand the finances back to 2008 and am not easily confused by the use of misleading statistics provided by lobbyists and for-profit charter and voucher scheme advocates. And before you jump to the Moore-county-needs-to-step-up-more part, we are asking them for more, daily.  Moore county’s local supplement is 28th highest while state funding is 105th/115, leaving us 85th overall. We will keep pushing.

To refresh your memory on my concerns, Moore County already faces the burden of:
1. inaccurate teacher funding by county instead of site (at least $1.4M),
2. the reversion of average teacher salary differences ($1.5M),
3. the previous (prior to 2016 budget) pressure on class size by changing k-3 class size allotment formulas ($1.7M),

4. previous cuts to teacher assistants, textbooks, classroom materials, support positions, and underfunded benefit and salary increases,
5. the lack of “low wealth county” funds based on the tier system,
6. the loss of sales tax expansion funds based on the tier system and,
7. the 2016-2017 unfunded class size reduction act ($2.9M or $1.42M)
I’ve recently written to you about the stunted “education” lottery fund use and the newest proposal to distribute capital lottery dollars AGAIN based on the flawed tier system.  Another nail in the coffin.
That brings us to the current push to shift funding toward the for-profit and voucher schemes which are unacceptable (see article link at the bottom).  The data you are using to justify this is pick-and-choose.  The reality on the ground is segregation by wealth, race, and (lack of a) serious disability.  This is contrary to the NC Constitution you purport to uphold.

Continuing to stall on funding, delaying or suspending the class size reduction act is just adding unnecessary complication to already stressed systems across the state. Putting all these things together, you can see how I might view your actions as a ploy to distract, divide, divert and therefore gain leverage in negotiation on the education budget.  To what end? Further tax cuts (yes, from which I personally benefit)?  Any benefit achieved by the individual is negated by the devastation of education to the majority of North Carolina’s children, our future.  That scares me. NC public education has always been a source of economic development and betterment in our state. Please do not destroy it by continuing to push budget needs to the counties and into for-profit companies.


Whether your continued support of all these flawed funding issues is due to wilful ignorance or simple misunderstanding is beyond me.  There are MANY resources at the school and district level willing to clarify how the policies you enact as horse-trades in Raleigh translate to daily erosion in the classroom.  There are ways to fund education from existing state funds.  Imagine the goodwill and press you can enjoy from correcting the broken policies of previous democratic and republican assemblies? Win-win-win, simply by doing the right thing. Please seek out ideas from the professional school finance officers, past and present.

Karin Kent
Moore County

Sample Letter 2017 Budget Crisis (to state representative or state senator)

*note – below is a sample letter to cut/paste and make your own.  Please feel free to share. When you’re ready, here is the link to the address tab Elected Officials Addresses

Dear (Sir/Madam),

I am writing to express my extreme concern over the looming budget crisis in Moore County Schools for August of 2017 and to share my personal story of why these schools are so valuable to me. And, to ask for your help as my elected official from Moore to the state assembly in Raleigh.

[please insert your story/specific thoughts/reasons here]

[there are no wrong reasons]

In order to protect the quality of our schools in Moore County and therefore our property values, business success, economic vitality and sense of community, I am asking for your help. Specifically, I ask you to

  1. introduce bills and vote to return classroom teacher funding to pre-recession class size formulas (circa 2008).

I will continue to monitor and participate with the local school board budget process to ensure wise use of resources, but we cannot manage what we do not have.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my letter and acting on behalf of all the children in Moore County Schools.  They need our voices and votes to succeed.


[your name and contact info here]

Sample Letter 2017 Budget Crisis (to county commissioner)

*note – below is a sample letter for the county commissioners (there are 5!!) to cut/paste and make your own. Please feel free to share.  When you’re ready, here is the link to their addresses: Contact Your Leaders

If you haven’t signed the #FullyFundOurSchools Petition to the County Commissioners, please do that as well:  #FullyFundOurSchools County Commissioners


Dear [Sir/Madam],

I am writing to express my extreme concern over the looming budget crisis in Moore County Schools for August of 2017 and to share my personal story of why these schools are so valuable to me. And, to ask for your help as my elected county commissioner.

[please insert your story/specific thoughts/reasons here]

[there are no wrong reasons]

In order to protect the quality of our schools in Moore County and therefore our property values, business success, economic vitality and sense of community, I am asking for your help. Specifically, I ask you to:

  1. continue to advocate with our State officials to return classroom teacher funding  to pre-recession class size formulas (circa 2008), to end the chronic under-funding by the state; and
  2. to fill in any remaining funding gaps with local funds.

I am well-aware that this funding shortage was not created by this or any previous Moore county board.  Nonetheless, the severe consequences will occur in August 2017 and our quality schools and the daily lives of students will suffer without your intervention.  MCS fund balance has been exhausted in buffering these chronic cuts since 2008.  I am now asking for you to have our backs. I will continue to monitor and participate with the local school board budget process to ensure wise use of resources, but we cannot manage what we do not have.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my letter and acting on behalf of all the children in Moore County Schools.  They need our voices and votes to succeed.


[your name and contact info here]

POLL RESULTS from Moore County Candidates

Parents For Moore contacted all Moore County Candidates and asked whether they were for or against the NC Connect Bond and 1/4 cent Local Sales Tax for School Facilities. The results are posted below:

*= SEE COMMENTS BELOW; NR= NO RESPONSE to phone or email requests

Name NC Connect Bond 1/4Cent Local Sales Tax for School Facilities
Sen. Jerry Tillman FOR FOR
Rep. Allen McNeill FOR* FOR*
Rep. Jamie Boles FOR* FOR*
John (JD) Zumwalt AGAINST* FOR
Comm. Nick Picerno AGAINST* FOR
Comm. Randy Saunders FOR * FOR
Comm. Otis Ritter AGAINST FOR
Comm. Catherine Graham FOR FOR
Comm. Jerry Daeke * *
Bob Zschoche FOR FOR
Frank Quis FOR* FOR*
Louis Gregory * FOR
Stacey Caldwell FOR FOR
Billy Marts FOR* FOR*
Helena Wallin-Miller FOR FOR
Betty Wells Brown FOR* FOR*
Angela Headen Davis nr nr
Bruce Cunningham FOR* FOR*
B.J. Goodridge FOR* FOR*
Libby Carter FOR* FOR*
Pam Thompson FOR* FOR*


Allen McNeill:    I supported the NC Connect Bond when I voted for HB943 on September 30th last year and I still continue to support it and work for its passage in March. It allows the citizens of this state the option of voting either for or against the bond.

I support the ability of the County Commissioners to call for a ¼ cent sales tax referendum for school construction to be placed on the ballot for the citizens to vote on.

Jamie Boles: These are very important issues and I support both of them.  They not only help our local K-12 but our Universities and our local community college.  Thank you for your time in making sure people is aware of these issues.

John (JD) Zumwalt: I am not supporting the current NC Connect Bond. It doesn’t makes sense to borrow two billion dollars because we don’t have enough money and then not use any of that borrowed money for items our School Board and Commissioners have identified as Moore County priorities.   We end up with the same needs we had before – except now we have to help pay back two billion dollars.  I am strongly FOR the ¼ cent local sales tax for school construction.

Nick Picerno:  I am not supporting the bond. The reason is simple. The general assembly is not currently funding k – 12 adequately.  Adding 2 billion in debt plus interest will put more pressure on the state budget and will make k-12 funding continue to dwindle from the state.  This puts more pressure on local government to make up the difference.  I have tried to stay consistent that all government must prioritize what’s important.

Randy Saunders: I am supporting the bond because of the Sandhills Community College.

Jerry Daeke: I am currently undecided.

Frank Quis:  I wholeheartedly support both the NC Public Improvement Bond and the local sales tax increase.

Louis Gregory: I am undecided on the NC Connect Bond.  I am FOR the local sales tax for schools.

Billy Marts: I am strongly in favor of both and I urge all Moore County citizens to vote in support of the sorely needed funding for education.

Betty Wells Brown: The NC Public Improvement Bond is interrelated to the infrastructure of NC’s economic development, and for preparing our students from PreK to the University level to be college and career ready.  Our support of this bond issue will demonstrate to our voters that we need their votes and support.

As the Board of Education and County Commissioners plan for construction of new schools in Moore County, the referendum offers an equitable way all residents and visitors to contribute

Bruce Cunningham: I am strongly in favor of the 1/4 cent sales tax increase to support school construction and the bond referendum.

March 15, 2016 will be a pivotal day in the history of Moore County Schools.  Not only have the County Commissioners given us the opportunity to build four sorely needed schools within the next four to five years, but the Commissioners have pledge to establish a process where the proceeds of the sales tax increase would fund continual capital improvements for renovation or construction of new schools.

The passage of the 1/4 cent sales tax increase is essential to provide our students with the quality facilities they deserve.

B.J. Goodridge: I am absolutely in favor of both. The Connect NC Public Improvement Bond provides much needed funds for a number of important areas in our state. One of the largest things is money for the community college system in NC. On the home front, Moore County is on tap to get more than $12M. Of this amount, just over $3.8M goes to the very deserving Sandhills Community College. Another $8.5M is set aside to convert Samarcand to a training facility for use statewide by law enforcement. Weymouth Woods is also getting over $300,000. All of these areas are extremely important to our community. This is also a bond that will not need any additional taxpayer money to cover as we are rapidly paying down on another bond and that money should cover this.

The ¼ % sales tax increase for Moore County is to fund our upcoming school construction. I cannot stress how extremely important this is to our schools and our future. We must pass this! We absolutely must! Our schools are in dire need of replacement, upgrades, and maintenance. We have neglected these things far too long. This tax will not be on prescriptions or food. This is money that will come from other purchases. It will also come from anyone who visits or travels through. Our schools must remain a priority. Our future, the future of our community, and our future generations walk through the doors of our schools each and every day. We must stand together to give them a school and education they can be proud of.

Libby Carter: I am definitely in favor of both March 15th ballot referendum issues. We cannot do enough to invest in the future of North Carolina’s infrastructure. The Connect NC Public Improvement Bond delivers funds to upgrade and maintain our state parks, the state zoo, and facilities on our university and community college campuses; these are areas that cannot be neglected if North Carolina is to remain attractive to both tourists and industries alike.

I feel even more strongly about our need to approve the 1/4 cent sales tax proposed by our Moore County Commissioners. Our schools overflow with increasing student enrollments and our buildings crumble around them. We must be proactive in addressing these problems by providing adequate campuses for students throughout the county.  This very slight increase in sales tax is just the beginning of the support we must provide in order to meet the needs of this new century.

Please join with me to support both these referendums on the March 15th ballot.

Pam Thompson: I will be voting for both the NC Improvement bond and the 1/4 cents sales tax and encourage and urge all MC voters to vote for both these critical referendums.   Dollars from the NC improvement bond will go towards construction at SCC as well as refurshing of the Samarcand facility for a state police training center.  This is a great opportunity to possibly bring jobs and an economic increase to that area of the county. The sales tax will assist to fund the new schools; the ACC facility and three new schools, as well as other major projects approved on the school’s master facilities’ plan.   We are behind with school construction, and we need to begin new school construction this fall.   We owe it to our students, educators, staff, and the MC community to build new facilities and modernize our school facilities to provide an environment that is safe and conducive to student learning.