The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that at the August 25 CIBO candidate forum, “Newman asked Archerd if he would have supported a recent proposal that favored a property tax cut over raises for teachers.”
Newman to Archerd (54:21): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaYQ0r6Fzqo
“Um…so…kinda going back to the previous question about the funding of the schools, and I’ll try to make this as specific as I can: so, in the budget we had this year, there was a, the county manager presented the budget, Commissioner Moffitt proposed an amendment to the budget that would have, um, providing no pay increases for local teachers but would have reduced the tax rate. I proposed an amendment to the budget that kept the tax rate the same but gave a pay raise to teachers. How would you have voted on those amendments?”
VIDEO: CIBO Candidate Forum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaYQ0r6Fzqo
This question mis-characterized the trade-off proposed.
The minutes state that Moffitt proposed that the county ask the school board to use a portion of their unnecessary accumulated $12 million reserve fund to pay the balance of the teacher raise request of $3,371,504.
$1.6 million was already on the table. That leaves $1,771.504 to be funded from school board reserves.
The Moffitt Proposal: fully fund teacher raises at $3.3 million.
“The County Manager gave a brief overview of the budget as presented for adoption. She listed the county schools requests including the teacher’s supplement.
Commissioner Moffitt said that he introduced Senate Bill 888 during his time in the NC House and it was just passed by the current members saving the County’s fund balance $5,000,000. He moved to adopt the budget with the following changes:
- reduce the tax rate [one penny] to 59.4;
- give County schools $1.6 million to fund the Enka Intermediate and Nesbitt STEM [Discovery] Schools;
- fund $500,000 for non-certified school employee raises, asking that the County schools use their fund balance to fund the remaining request. [$3,371,504 request minus $1.6M offer leaves $1,771.504 to be funded by $12.5M school board reserve fund]; (The Moffitt Proposal: fully fund teacher raises at $3.3 million.
- that the County take the Asheville City Schools portion out of County fund balance;
- accept staff recommendation on the outstanding community development funding requests that had previously been found not to be economic development issues.
Commissioner Fryar seconded the motion. The motion failed…
Vice Chair Newman moved to adopt the budget as submitted with:
- additional support for teachers by funding $1.65 million for the supplement this year and next year;
- support all of the community development organizations at the funding level as recommended by staff;
- fund $75,000 to Asheville Museum of Science; fund $500,000 for non-certified teacher supplement for city/county schools;
- to increase funding for Greenways by $100,000 and include in the capital plan 2021 $1 million be invested in the 1-26 infrastructure multi-model project to preserve connectivity above and beyond the basic design;
- funding for the opening of the Enka Intermediate and Nesbitt STEM School as well.
Commissioner Frost seconded the motion. Based on this motion, the Manager asked that she be allowed to use up to $75,000 from the fund balance if necessary. The motion passed…”
EXCHANGE WITH REPORTER
Mark Cates: “I suspect Emily Patrick “fact-checked’ this with the same rigor as she did Commissioner Newman’s false accusation.”
Emily Patrick: “What point are you two trying to make, exactly? These minutes show, as we have reported, the Moffitt plan did not include raises for teachers. That plan included raises for non-certified school staff.”
1. The minutes show that Brownie Newman does not fully fund teacher raises that were requested. His proposal funded raises at $1.65 million. That’s half the $3.3 million amount requested. A correction might be in order.
2. Moffitt’s proposal FULLY funded teacher raises at the requested $3,371,504—in part from a $12,505,121 school board reserve fund; which they are not required to hold.
3. While the minutes are accurate they are somewhat vague. A better record is the video where Tony Baldwin admits on record that he is sitting on $12,505,121 accumulated reserve fund from previous allocations that were never used (link below). Meanwhile, teachers are buying school supplies for their students and the school board is coming to the county with hat in hand.
VIDEO: Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting (June 21, 2016)
RE: SCHOOL SUPPLIES
1. The county school board has $12,505,121 in a discretionary reserve fund accumulated over time from unused previous allocations.
2. The county has 1,800 certified staff positions, not all are teachers. For our purposes, let’s say they are all teachers.
3. If funding for classroom supplies were $200 per teacher, that would amount to $360,000.
4. Supplies for every classroom in the county could be funded for 2.8% of the reserve fund.
REPEATING THE LIE
Buncombe County Commissioners Candidate Forum
September 22, 2016
Brownie: “The majority on the county commission voted to dedicate (extra funding for a) long overdue pay raise,” he said. “All the Republican members voted against it, and those are the facts that you can look up.”
VIDEO: Citizen-Times Candidate Forum
-Newman on teacher pay at 1:25:00
-Fryar’s rebuttal at 1:32:47
-Newman responds at 1:35:10 (interesting body language at the end)
Why is the Buncombe County School Board asking for a teacher pay raise while sitting on a $12.5 million fund balance?
Buncombe County School Board Fund Balances