The Rolling Stones said you can’t always get what you want – but sometimes you just might get what you need.
In the fiscal 2023-2024 budget adopted by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, June 15, Guilford County Schools got some of what they need – millions of dollars to pay more to the school systems “classified” employees.
Those are some of the system’s lowest paid workers such as bus drivers, janitors and cafeteria staff.
The Board of Commissioners added $15.4 million for Guilford County Schools’ operations in order to increase the salaries of those non-teacher, non-administrative employees. It was a far cry from the $101 million in additional funding over the current fiscal year funding that the Guilford County Board of Education had requested.
Though Guilford County Manager Mike Halford proposed giving the schools the same amount of money as in the 2022-2023 budget, the board chose otherwise.
The $15.4 million seemed to satisfy most of the school employees and school officials in the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Old Guilford County Court House that night.
Even before the budget was adopted at the June 15 meeting, school workers, who spoke from the floor at the start of the meeting, thanked the commissioners for what they were about to do.
The information of the coming raises must have been leaked to the classified employees after the county commissioners agreed to, but didn’t make public, the final county budget earlier in the week.
In fiscal year 2022-2023 – the year that closes out at the end of this month – Guilford County allocated $244,810,398 for school operations. In the new budget, the Guilford County Board of Education wanted to see that number for operations grow to over $350 million, but they’ll have to settle for just north of $260 million for operations from the county for the coming 12 months.
The county put its spin on the move in a press release regarding the budget after adding up all the school money the county is giving this year.
“The annual budget adopted by the Board of Commissioners, the release states, “continues a historic investment by allocating more than $395 million, or nearly half of the County’s general operating budget, to support Guilford County Schools, including funding for operations, facility needs, and repayment of voter approved school bonds.”