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Western N.C. school system—reeling from budget cuts, charters—may have to close a school

charterschools-300x202 [1]Troubling news out of Haywood County, a mountainous district west of Asheville that may be facing a school closure and the loss of almost two dozen teaching positions. The culprit? According to an Associated Press report late last week [2], local funding cuts and competing charter schools.

School officials told the A.P. last week that they are attempting to remedy a $2.4 million local funding deficit for the 2016-2017 school year, at least partially because of about $933,000 in lost state funds due to competing charter school openings.

The system said another $508,000 of local tax dollars were “diverted” to charter schools inside and outside of Haywood County.

From the report:

“You have a decrease in funding. You have a significant decrease in the number of students, and you have a charter school opening in your own district,” Haywood County Schools Associate Superintendent Bill Nolte said. “Those are the factors that have come together to create for us a $2.4 million deficit in our local budget.”

The budget worries may cost the district about 22 teaching positions.

In addition:

The system is also planning to cut supplies, reduce money for band travel, cut support for athletics, eliminate two assistant principal positions and cut remediation at the high school and middle school.

School officials are also studying the shutdown of Central Elementary School. Board members authorized a study of the possible closing on Monday. Study results are expected on Jan. 21.
Public education advocates have long complained that North Carolina’s growing bent toward charters is coming at the expense of public school systems [3], already strapped from local funding shortfalls handed down by the N.C. General Assembly. We’ll continue to follow this important issue.