Commissioners table action on school board funding request

By: Erin Smith -

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County Schools came to the county commissioners Monday asking for more money, but commissioners tabled the request until next month.

Bladen County Manager Greg Martin said the item will be on the agenda for the board’s Sept. 8 meeting. He said, if the board should choose to fund the request, the money would have to come from the commissioners’ general fund balance.

Bladen County Schools Superintendent Robert Taylor submitted a request to the commissioners for $200,000 in additional funding, which he said is needed for the following areas:

— Driver’s Education: $80,000. According to the written request, the state is going to eliminate funding for this program.

— Teacher Supplies and Materials: $40,000. According to the written request, this item has been eliminated from the local budget but the schools have a continued need for classroom materials.

— Teacher Supplements: $80,000. According to the written request, the board is committed to keeping teacher supplement pay and in order to do so, has cut or reduced other areas.

“These are a small number of issues and I know that the commissioners have done a tremendous job in supporting us. We don’t expect to have a a state budget until October, and we want to ensure that we have the ability to fund our program and not have to make mid-year cuts,” wrote Taylor.

Bladen County Schools Public Relations Director Valerie Newton added that was not unusual for the board to table an item for more information. Newton said occassionally the Board of Education will do the same thing when more information is needed.

The N.C. General Assembly has not adopted a state budget as of Tuesday and is operating under a temporary budget which expires on Aug. 31, according to reports. WSOC-TV reported that, on Tuesday, the state is one step closer to having a final budget after it was announced that the General Assembly’s Republican leadership had reached a spending agreement with Gov. Pat McCrory.

In other business on Monday:

— The board recognized Blannie Smith Hall and her family on reaching her 100th birthday.

— The board appointed Renee Davis as interim Tax Administrator.

— Bladen County Department of Health and Human Services Director Cris Harrellson presented an agreement from Southeastern Biological Supply to the board, which the board approved. He said the contract is an addition to the contract the board had adopted in 2009. Harrellson said the company would like to buy carcasses of animals from the Bladen County Animal Shelter to be used for scientific research. The company will reimburse the county $4 per dog or cat carcass.

The contract states that Southeastern Biological Supply would pick up the carcasses once per week — and dogs must be adults that weigh between 25-45 pounds and be in “reasonably good condition.”

Harrellson said that the shelter will not increase its euthanasia rates.

“As long as we have room in the shelter, no animals are euthanized,” said Harrellson.

He added that the shelter has a high adoption rate and a working relationship with A Shelter Friend.

“Our animal control board has been very active and very instrumental in bringing us to the point we are at now. We’ve come a long way,” said Harrellson.

— The board approved several USDA forms to request obligation of funds regarding the detention and law enforcement center construction project.

— The board reappointed Bobby Kinlaw and Larry Hayes to the Highway Safety Committee and appointed Andy Coleman to the committee in place of Reynold Hester.

— The board approved the acceptance of a trailer from the Southeast Regional Advisory Committee.

— The board approved a contract with CKS Productions.

— The board approved the unpaid tax report and annual settlement for years 2005-2014 and also adopted an order directing the tax collector to collect taxes charged in the tax records and receipts.

Erin Smith can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

Erin Smith