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Board of Education Wrap-Up

April 17, 2024 – The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education discussed the current draft of the FY2025 budget during their meeting on Tuesday night.

The board is responsible for approving a new budget every fiscal year, but the 2024-25 school year will come with some unique financial challenges. It will be the first school year since the pandemic that the district will have to do without Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, and there are ongoing discussions in the state legislature that may divert significant money away from public schools. Chief Financial Officer Thomas Kranz says that the district has done an admirable job streamlining expenditures and preserving positions under uncommonly lean circumstances, but even so, financial flexibility is likely to be tight next year.

Despite this outlook, WS/FCS has produced a draft budget built around five high priorities – 1) core instruction that emphasizes deeper learning, 2) well-rounded curriculum that includes extracurriculars like arts, athletics, and STEM programming, 3) behavioral and mental health services that address student wellbeing from social, emotional, physical, and mental angles, 4) employee retention through measures like raises for teachers and classified staff, longevity and master’s degree supplements, and professional development opportunities, and 5) operational efficiency to keep campuses clean, safe, and optimal for student learning.

2024-25 is the final year of WS/FCS’s five-year strategic plan. That plan guides the district towards the pursuits of closing achievement gaps between students, creating equitable access to instruction, strengthening stakeholder relationships, maintaining the best possible workforce, and fostering a safe and inclusive learning environment. Superintendent Tricia McManus is confident that this budget will help the district keep progressing towards those goals to the best of its abilities.

“We are always going to continuously focus on what our district mission and vision states and we’re going to try to live that out every day,” McManus said.

No action will be taken on the budget until the board’s next regular meeting on April 30. The FY2025 budget book is available to review here.

Also on the board’s agenda for the evening were:

  • A performance of a piano solo from Owen Kuhner of Reynolds High School
  • Recognitions for Mary Kathryn Bowman Choat’s Northwest District Bandmasters Association Award of Excellence and winners of the Scholastic Gold and Silver Awards
  • Proclamations celebrating Autism Acceptance Month, Occupational Therapist Awareness Month, and the district’s Week of the Young Child
  • Approval of construction material testing at East Forsyth High School, construction material testing and environmental services at Brunson Elementary School, and several 2023-24 budget amendments

The Board of Education will meet again on Tuesday, April 30 at 6:30 pm.