Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

School Board sends $30.8 million funding request to county

The Henderson County School Board on Monday sent a $30,828,000 funding request to the Board of Commissioners — $3.6 million less than the current year's funding and one of the many signs of belt-tightening as local government bodies draft their 2020-21 budgets in the covid-19 economy.


A year ago, county commissioners authorized $34,498,760, including $28.3 million for current expense, $1.5 million for maintenance and safety improvements and $4.67 million for maintenance, repairs and technology capital projects.

The 2021 request includes $28,928,000 for current expense and $1.9 million for capital outlay. County Manager Steve Wyatt asked the School Board to freeze $1.7 million in capital outlay spending in the current year and freeze $4.67 million in the budget year starting July 1.

"We surely trust and hope it will be possible for them to release (the held funding) sometime within the coming year," board member Mary Louise Corn said.

Board member Amy Lynn Holt cautioned the public not to interpret the funding freeze as a lack of support from the Board of Commissioners.

"This is all reaction from the covid-19 and I have no doubt this money will be reinstated as soon as the county can do it," she said. "They've been very very supportive."

The School Board decided to set aside $400,000 to plan for re-entry, the administration's term for the reopening of schools. Board member Jay Egolf said that may fall short of the need.

"We don't know what that's going to be," he said. "We don't have any clue what anybody is going to want or to have or to see when their children come back to school."

Associate Superintendent John Bryant emphasized that projects already under contract, including the $60 million Hendersonville High School construction-renovation and new heating and air conditioning systems at Rugby and Flat Rock middle schools, are unaffected by the freeze.

"Those projects are moving forward and we're moving forward ahead of schedule," he said. "We've been able to make lemonade out of lemons and move forwad with some construction and some school work that otherwise would have taken much longer."

Superintendent Bo Caldwell reported to the board that the Legislature had appropriated $231.6 million in emergency federal aid for public schools for child nutrition ($75 million), summer learning ($70 million), remote learning, including devices and other support ($56.5 million), exceptional children ($15 million), 
mental health ($10 million), cybersecurity ($4.5 million) and residential schools ($600,000). So far, the state has not given counties guidance on exactly how they can spend the money, Caldwell said.