Funding Gap in CHCCS Board Plans for New Construction

CHCCS assistant superintendent for support services Todd LoFrese talked about ideas to fill a funding gap for the new construction at Lincoln Center and Chapel Hill High School at the school board meeting last Thursday.

The board authorized a budget of almost $1.4 million for both projects at a previous meeting but have since exhausted the budget they had received from the county.

Since the board is waiting to see if Orange County voters will approve a record $120 million school bond in November, LoFrese said there aren’t many options.

“We have two options. One would be to stop the design work until the bond passes. The other would be to authorize additional funding to continue the work,” LoFrese said.

LoFrese said he would rather front the money with the district’s fund balance and get reimbursed once the bond is approved in November.

To continue the designs the board would have to allocate approximately $350,000 each month until November.

LoFrese said he spoke with the county manager and financial staff about the reimbursement idea and they agreed the plan could be feasible.

LoFrese said this plan would be similar to design work that was done for Northside Elementary School, although the reimbursement funds ended up not being needed due to timing of the approval for that bond.

“At that time, I think there was about an eight-or-nine-month window that we needed and both the board and the county adopted a reimbursement resolution that allowed us to get started on design work on Northside Elementary, and receive reimbursement from the county,” Lofrese said.

The major concern with this idea is the possibility of the bond not being approved, but the board did not seem concerned toward that issue at the meeting.

The board supported Lofrese’s idea to move forward with creating an official plan for this funding and bringing it to the next meeting for an official vote from the board.

The next meeting for the CHCCS Board will be held on Thursday, September 29.

CHCCS Will Discuss Budget Plans Monday

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill-Carrboro school leaders are still waiting on a final state budget before signing off on next year’s spending plan. The school board meets Monday night in a special session to discuss the district’s budget plans in light of proposed state funding cuts.

Last month county commissioners agreed to increase school funding and raise the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district tax to generate more revenue for the school system.

But both the house and state budget proposals call for cuts to funding for teachers assistants, leaving school administrators struggling to trim the local budget to fill in the gaps.

The school board will consider new proposals to delay technology upgrades, hold off on adding a new class for children with special needs, and forgo a one-time bonus to staff members.

However, not all of the proposals are spending cuts. The board will consider allocating additional funding to the dual language program and the Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate Program, as well as possibly charging a fee for drivers education.

While the school board plans to adopt a final budget on July 18, that could be delayed if legislators are still haggling over the state budget later this month.

The school board meets at 7:00 p.m. Monday at the Lincoln Center on South Merritt Mill Road.