Speakers seek more money for schools at Durham County budget hearing

CorrespondentJune 11, 2013 

The Durham County Board of Commissioners heard from 27 speakers Monday evening at a public hearing on the fiscal year 2013-14 budget.

Many speakers asked for more money for the Durham Public Schools. County Manager Mike Ruffin has recommended keeping local school funding flat, despite a request from the school board for an additional $4.8 million to make up for state and federal cuts.

Holly Jordan, a Hillside High School teacher said she wanted to be at the Moral Monday protests at the state legislature, but that she was declaring it Moral Monday in Durham as well.

Jordan said she was worried that teacher’s assistant positions would be cut if the commissioners do not come up with the funding increase for the schools.

“Not funding teacher’s assistant positions hurts everyone,” Jordan said, “not just for a year, but for decades to come.”

Speakers also came to the podium in support of the Durham Symphony Orchestra and against proposed property tax increases.

Ruffin has proposed a $525.8 million total budget. The general fund balance, where most county services are funded, is $359.7 million, an increase of 3.2 percent from the 2012-13 budget.

The proposed budget includes a 4 percent property-tax-rate increase. The increase would raise the county tax rate three cents to 77.44 cents per $100 valuation, and the county property-tax bill on a house valued at $150,000 would increase by $45 to $1,161.60.

The commissioners are scheduled to adopt the budget on June 24, at their 7 p.m. meeting.

Goad: 919-536-8549

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