Cumberland County budget denies schools more funds for SROs, guidance counselors

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Cumberland County Schools coming up short in budget
Cumberland County Schools are coming up short in the county budget just approved by commissioners.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- Cumberland County School officials are disappointed in the county's budget approval after the district didn't get the funds requested for additional school resource officers and guidance counselors.

On Monday, County Commissioners approved next year's budget of $478 million with no tax increase. Of that, the school system will receive $79 million even though it asked for $85 million.

While that's only a difference of $6 million, school leaders say what that money would do for students is priceless.

Officials were hoping to get funding for additional school resource officers. Right now, CCS only has about 58 officers for their 87 schools.

"Just in the environment that we're in now in this country clearly we're going to have to provide additional security at all of our schools and that's gonna happen it's just a matter of getting the funding to make it happen as soon as possible," said interim Superintendent Tim Kinlaw.

Cumberland County Schools say they also requested funding for additional school nurses. Kinlaw said Cumberland County had the worst student-to-nurse ratio in the state.

Though the schools got the funding for seven new nursing positions but lamented the shortfall on shortfalls in other areas.

"Within our budget, we also had additional guidance counselors, trying to address the mental-health issues that our kids are going through, and we feel like that's just as important - addressing the mental health and physical health along with safety and security," Kinlaw said.

Incoming Superintendent Marvin Connelly is tasked with figuring out how to make ends meet.

"It's going to be a challenge for us trying to figure out school security, physical security as well as the officers in the schools and being able to provide support for students. We also offered to the county to phase it in over three years and we thought that was a fair compromise for the county but obviously, we have not received that funding," Connelly said.

The board met Tuesday night to discuss options.