A decline in average daily attendance means a $507,000 cut in state funding for the Wilkes County Schools this year, but it was expected and was already factored into the 2018-19 budget, said Wilkes School Finance Director Seth Prevette in a county school board meeting Monday night.

 “That was anticipated when we built the budget for this year so we aren’t asking for the appropriation of any additional funds tonight” to compensate for the reduction, Prevette told the board.    

He later said that the N.C. Department of Public Instruction certified 9,043 as the average daily membership (ADM) for kindergarten through 12th grade in the Wilkes schools for the first two months of the school year. ADM is equal to average daily attendance.

This year’s initial state funding allotment was based on an ADM of 9,418, which resulted in the $507,000 reduction in ADM-based state funding when it was certified as 9,043.

This includes $335,125 less for classroom teachers (five fewer teacher positions), $78,215 less for instructional support, $54,959 less for teacher assistant (two fewer teacher assistant positions), $29,305 less for non-instructional support, $4,214 less for textbooks and $3,366 less for instructional supplies.

Prevette said teacher and teacher assistant positions were reduced through attrition rather than laying off people.

The Wilkes school district’s ADM was 9,285 in 2017-18 and 10,020 in 2007-08.

He explained that if ADM differs from what is projected by more than 2 percent, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction adjusts the state’s funding allocation midway in the current year. If the difference is less than 2 percent, the adjustment is made the following school year.

Funding is adjusted upward or downward, depending on if the certified ADM is more or less than what was projected.

Pre-kindergarten funding from the state is handled separately so a school district’s certified ADM doesn’t include pre-kindergarten students. Prevette said that explains why a school district’s stated enrollment total is sometimes larger than its ADM.

Prevette also reported that the Wilkes County Schools received an additional $310,246 from the state for teacher pay bonuses tied to reading end of grade (EOG) test scores of students in third through fifth grades and math EOG test scores of students in fourth through eighth grades. The teacher pay bonuses were authorized in state legislation passed last year.

The Wilkes County Schools also received an additional $25,920 in state funding for twice-retained students in the school district’s third grade summer reading camp.

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