School partnerships key as funding uncertain

Catawba County education leaders say partnerships are the key to maintaining strong classroom and training programs as state funding allotments continue to be uncertain.

The county's three public school systems reverted millions in state funding last fiscal year. Proposed state budgets for the upcoming fiscal year differ on planned reversions, Catawba County Schools (CCS) Superintendent Glenn Barger said Wednesday morning during a quarterly Champions of Education breakfast that merges school, business, government and community leaders.

The current Senate budget would take $7 million from the county's three school systems in the next fiscal year, while the House proposes $2.7 million in cuts. Gov. Beverly Perdue proposes a penny increase on the state sales tax to return money to schools, Barger said.

"In its biennial budget, the state took a lot of money out of Catawba County last year," Barger said. "But we shared with you that last year wasn't going to be the real problem.

The falling-off-the-cliff year was this year, but from all three (proposed budgets) it appears help is on the way."

To read more of this story, pick up the Thursday print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.