Pender County Schools provide details on budget concerns

Pender County Schools provide details on budget concerns

BURGAW, NC (WECT) - Pender County Schools needs millions of dollars to repair its 18 schools before students can return to class.

The total price tag of $12.3 million was made public at the Pender County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. That is the minimum needed to get the schools ready for students.

Pender County Schools has designated eight schools as triage buildings that will take the longest to get ready at a cost of $5.5 million. The school system is $52,000 shy of that number.

The eight schools are: Topsail Middle, Topsail Elementary, South Topsail Elementary, Rocky Point Elementary, North Topsail Elementary, Cape Fear Elementary, Cape Fear Middle, and Heide Trask High School.

The estimated cost to repair the remaining 10 schools is $6.7 million, which the county doesn’t have according to Pender County Schools superintendent Steven Hill.

“Our county commissioners are working tomorrow to talk about local funding and people to connect us with the state department,” said Hill. “So, we are hoping, and everything is looking favorable that within the next three or four days we’ll get the rest of that funding and be able to move into our schools.”

Hill made it clear that this money just gets students back in the classrooms.

“This doesn’t count repairs, roofs, window seals, light fixtures, or ceiling tiles, just to get into the schools,” said Hill.

Pender County Schools hopes the money to repair the schools is refunded by FEMA.

“We are following every FEMA guideline,” said Hill. “We are working with our county commissioners and they have hired a consultant with FEMA to make sure we are following every guideline. That money is slow coming, but we are making every step to make sure we get that money back.”

Pender County students will not return to class until Oct. 18 at the earliest.

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