Pamlico County Commissioners put talks of school cuts to rest as they continue finalizing budget

PAMLICO COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -Towns, cities and counties across the east are making final budget adjustments for the 2024-2025 fiscal year and one county is facing serious backlash about their proposed budget due to potential school cuts within.

It’s been difficult for Pamlico County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Johnson to see eye to eye with the board of commissioners ever since they mentioned cutting school costs next year.

“What I consider serious consideration and deliberation was given to cutting us between $500,000 and $1 million,” Johnson said.

Commissioners are currently putting together their budget for the next fiscal year and one of the main concerns is a potential school cuts proposal.

According to Johnson, some commissioners brought up the idea of school cuts during a budget meeting last month.

The board met again for a budget work session Wednesday night but expressed a lack of desire to cut school costs.

“There’s no sense in cutting anymore,” said Candy Bohmert, Pamlico County Chairman. “I didn’t want to cut the schools, I want the schools to be successful. We all want the schools to be successful.”

Johnson says the schools budget request to the county was an increase of 10.2% for the fiscal year 2024, but says the recommendation made to commissioners by County Manager Tim Buck was to provide a 3.5% increase to all funded agencies within the county and they’d need to accommodate money from the fund balance towards this increase for the fiscal year 2025.

While commissioners say they’re no longer considering massive school cuts, Johnson believes there’s still a possibility of it happening to a lesser degree.

“I don’t want to come across as ungrateful for the support, but realistically we’re still going to have to look at cuts because of increased costs of everything,” Johnson said.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted 5 to 1 in favor of proposing a 64.5 cents tax rate instead of cutting anymore cost in the budget.

A public hearing about the budget will be held next Monday.