Catawba County Schools finances

The Catawba County Schools board approved its 2012-13 local budget and capital project requests Monday night, but those plans are far from finalized.

The county manager’s office will now take those requests, tweak them and present them to the Catawba County Board of Commissioners for approval.

The state, which doesn’t finalize its budget until early summer, could also impose changes that would affect how much money goes where.

“It may be the way we recommended it, or it may be a little different,” said CCS Superintendent Glenn Barger. “It just depends on what happens.”

The CCS Board of Education approved a $30.5 million local current expense budget, which is about $2.7 million more than last year’s fiscal plan.

Most of the local increases stem from a loss in federal stimulus funds that have been used up.

For example, the budget contains a $1 million increase to pay for 33 full-time positions that were covered by stimulus funds in recent years. Other increases fund retirement costs, hospital insurance and office personnel positions, among others.

The board also approved its list of capital outlay requests.

The prioritized lists of requests feature a dozen construction and upgrade projects that total a projected cost of about $4.4 million.

Barger said it’s up to the county which projects will be funded.

One of the higher prioritized projects is the upgrade and replacement of bleachers at Bandys, Bunker Hill, Fred T. Foard and St. Stephens high schools.

CCS is looking for $2 million in funding for the projects.

CCS Assistant Superintendent Steve Demiter said the school system has received funding in the past for bleacher replacement. However, to meet code requirement, CCS must also renovate any bathroom adjacent to the athletic facility stands, which is what the $2 million will pay for.

“That’s what a lot of the additional expense is for, to upgrade those bathroom facilities and sewer facilities,” Demiter said.

Demiter said the bleacher facilities are in “poor shape” and will be replaced with aluminum-style seating.

In other CCS news
Webb A. Murray Elementary School received a $4,500 Burroughs Wellcome Grant that will pay for new science kits at the school.