Pender schools budget remains open ended

Reported by Laura Sinacori - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - With just nine days left before the start of school, Pender County officials are determining if dozens of school workers still have jobs.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has not given Pender Schools any definite numbers, leaving the district in limbo.

Superintendent Allison Sholar voiced her frustrations to county commissioners Monday night over funding for her schools.

"We have to give these folks an answer one way or the other," said Sholar. "But to give you the bottom line, no we are not prepared money wise."

Already the state has cut $1.26 million in the county's allotment and axed $2.1 million more in funds that usually cover custodians, substitutes and office support. The question that remains is how much the county will receive in stimulus money to save some positions.

"I'm not taking any chances with it," said Letecia Williams, who moved her children to schools out of the county. "I'd rather do smaller classrooms, more individual attention so if my child has problems the teacher can notify me and can be on top of it right away."

It's a growing frustration shared among parents and schools officials.

"I wish they had known before now," said Superintendent Sholar. "It is frustrating. I don't understand what the holdup is."

There are 33 positions in jeopardy and the Pender school system hopes to get enough money to keep at least 10 teachers and 15 teacher's assistants.

Pender County teachers return to classroom planning this Wednesday.

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