Local News

Johnston County Schools Ask Commissioners For More Money To Handle Growth

Posted May 12, 2003 5:08 a.m. EDT

— Johnston County school leaders say growth is making their wish list long and expensive.

Contractor Joey Stancil is finishing up on McGee's Crossroads Middle School, one of four new schools set to open in Johnston County next year. The school will hold about 900 students when it is finished, but the growth rate in Johnston County is about 1,300 students a year.

"Percentage-wise, Johnston County schools are the fastest-growing school system in North Carolina," said Dr. Jim Causby, school superintendent for Johnston County schools.

The school system wants 22-percent more money than last year. It would pay for more teachers, salaries, and narrowing the minority achievement gap, among other things.

"We needed 20 additional buses next year and that has to come from local money," Causby said.

However, officials question whether the county afford such a big increase, which is a much higher percentage than what Wake or Durham County schools are asking for. Some parents believe the schools deserve the money.

"All of my children are in brand-new schools. The curriculums are excellent," parent Joyce Britt said.

"Whatever they need, I think they should get," parent Genene Beasley said.

County Commissioner Thomas Moore said the 22-percent increase is nowhere near do-able without a tax increase and he does not see that happening. Hammering out a budget almost landed the school board and the county commission into mediation last year.