From the Boardroom

Wayne County Board of Education Meeting Recap

During its June 29, 2021 special called meeting, the Wayne County Board of Education took several key financial actions, including: approving a 2020-21 budget amendment, approving a 2021-22 Interim Budget resolution, increasing funding for Communities Supporting Schools, and making a significant payment to pay off Federal debt borrowed in 2019 from the USDA School Nutrition Program.
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Board enters Closed Session & takes other actions

Following closed session for personnel and to consult with legal counsel, the Board amended its Meeting Agenda to reflect business items listed as action items. The Board of Education then approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Brigham Young University & Wayne County Public Schools which will be used to facilitate internship opportunities and educational experiences for students. The Board later approved its Consent Agenda, which included a General Personnel Report.

Board approves budget amendment

Chief Finance Officer, Leslie Rouse, presented the following Budget Amendment #4 for the 2020-2021 Budget. The amendment reflects any changes to the fiscal budget and reflects the most current revenues and expenditures as the district works to close out its 2020-2021 fiscal calendar. Mrs. Rouse shared that the Budget Amendment #4 has been vetted and approved by the district auditors. After some discussion, the amendment was approved by the Board.

WCPS pays off $5 million Debt

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Interim Superintendent, Dr. David Lewis, reminded the Board that this time last year, the district’s former auditors informed the Board that the district owed $3 million to the USDA School Nutrition Program [The money was borrowed in 2019 from the program’s local savings held by WCPS.] In addition to having recently paid off its State debt [WCPS overspent $2.2 million in State funding in 2019-2020], Lewis shared that the district is also positioned to pay off its Federal debt. He recommended using savings to repay the debt and any interest that may also be owed to the School Nutrition Program.

During the discussion to follow, it was shared that the State and Federal debt payments were the result of strategic budget cuts implemented by the district administration to align spending with revenue, coupled with the rebuilding of savings and the utilization of identified unencumbered funds from allowable accounts.

Board Chair West commended former Interim Superintendent, Dr. James Merrill, School Operations Specialists, LLC president Aaron Beaulieu, and district leadership for their efforts to ensure the district was able to pay off the debt quickly. Following the Board’s approval to repay the School Nutrition Program, Aaron Beaulieu shared a few brief comments. After first complimenting the Board for its efforts over the past year, he recognized the changing of culture under Dr. Merrill’s leadership and the “phenomenal work” of Dr. Lewis and Mrs. Rouse who helped carry his efforts forward to make Wayne County Public Schools fiscally responsible.

Board approves Interim Budget Resolution

Chief Finance Officer, Leslie Rouse, presented the following Interim Budget Resolution for the 2021-2022 Interim Budget, The budget resolution, which reflects the first 6 months of the 2021-2022 fiscal calendar, was approved by the Board.

Board approves contracts & Increases funding for Communities Supporting Schools

Prior to adjourning, the Board approved the following Contracts, with two contracts approved pending legal review: Wayne UNC Healthcare WATCH Program and Communities Supporting Schools. During the Board’s discussion of the contracts, Interim Superintendent David Lewis shared that there was a recommended funding increase, from $40 thousand to $60 thousand, for Communities Supporting Schools.

This increase was based on a request made at the June 7, 2021 Board of Education meeting by Selena Bennett, Executive Director of Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County. Bennett told the Board that she wanted to add reading support and mentor services at Carver Elementary in Mount Olive and Brogden Primary in Dudley, and asked the Board to consider increasing funding to support the organization’s expansion efforts to help address learning loss due to the global health crisis. Lewis shared that a State funding source had been identified for the increase and told the Board that he believed a long term funding source could be identified for sustainability in subsequent years.

Board Meeting Resources for June 29, 2021 Meeting

The full June 29, 2021 Board Meeting can be viewed by clicking on Video Link. This meeting and past meeting videos can be viewed by clicking on the following Board Meeting Videos Link. The June 29, 2021 Meeting agenda and associated materials presented to the Board can be viewed by clicking on Meeting Link.

DISTRICT 1: Mr. Don Christopher West (Chair) -

DISTRICT 2: Mr. H. Len Henderson -

DISTRICT 3: Ms. Patricia A. Burden -

DISTRICT 4: Mrs. Jennifer S. Strickland -

DISTRICT 5: Dr. Joseph W. Democko (Vice-Chair) -

DISTRICT 6: Mr. Wade Leatham -

AT LARGE: Mr. J. Tommy Sanders III -