At a special meeting of the Northampton County Board of Supervisors Thursday evening in Eastville, Northampton Schools Superintendent Eddie Lawrence, accompanied by head of finance Brooke Thomas, presented their upcoming proposed budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Lawrence and Thomas asked for an additional $474,782 in funding from the County.
The budget included a requested 4% raise for teachers, as well as other various raises for school employees. Currently, Northampton is among the lowest paying districts in the area and is having trouble recruiting teachers. Multiple teaching positions have been vacant all year due to lack of competitive pay. According to Lawrence, the act of suspending students might soon be abolished. Because of this, Lawrence was asking for a position to be created to handle the increase of in school suspension that would result.
Lawrence concluded he and his staff tried to limit the additional money they asked for each year, because it was important to them to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. However, it was tough to fill the staff needs to educate the future leaders of Northampton.
And the Board agreed, the County is in a very tough position. Chairman Spencer Murray said this year’s budget process has been very challenging. The County received notice recently their health premiums for employees would be raising by approximately 24% in the coming year. Much more work will need to be done before a budget for the coming year can be approved.