County School Appropriations
Have You Ever Wondered How Forsyth County Funds Schools?
While public education is primarily a responsibility of the State; all counties
are required to fund a portion of the operating and capital expenses for local public
school systems. In fact, the General Statutes specify several categories that must
be provided for mainly from local revenues including:
- Buildings, furniture, and apparatus [G.S. 115C-521(b)]
- Garage and maintenance equipment for school buses [G.S. 115C-249(e)]
- Liability insurance [G.S. 115C-47(25)]
- Maintenance of plant [G.S. 115C-521(c) to 115C-524]
- Site acquisition [G.S. 115C-517]
- Furnishing of superintendent’s office [G.S. 115C-277]
- School building supplies [G.S. 115C-522(c)]
- Water supply and sewerage facilities [G.S. 115C-522(c)]
Most counties, including Forsyth County, provide funding above and beyond the legal
mandates. This additional funding is used to pay for local enhancements, such as
extra teaching positions to reduce class sizes, teacher and staff salary supplements,
and other programs and services in response to unique local needs. However, counties
do not have the ability to require school systems to use the additional funding
for any purpose.
Forsyth County’s budget ordinance includes two appropriations for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth
County School System – Current Expense and Capital Outlay. Current Expense funding
includes instructional, support, and other operating expenditures of the school
system. The Current Expense allocation for FY16 is $110,378,008 which is an increase
over FY15. The Capital Outlay fund includes appropriations for site acquisition,
new buildings, renovations of existing buildings, furnishings and equipment, new
school buses, activity buses, and other vehicles. The Capital Outlay allocation
for FY16 is $7,877,913 which is also an increase over FY15.
In addition to Current Expense and Capital Outlay, the County budget also includes
a significant outlay of dollars for debt service associated with the construction
of school facilities. In FY16, the debt service for WSFCS is 68% of Forsyth County’s
debt service budget - $41,863,723. This is a decrease from FY16.
When all expenses are taken into account, the total appropriation for Winston-Salem/Forsyth
County Schools is $160,119,644. The effective tax rate for this expenditure represents
50.1 cents of the County’s 73.1 cent tax rate.
As mentioned above, County appropriations are more for operating and capital expenses
like transportation services and central office functions. However, the school system
can use Current Expense funds to pay for the extra teaching positions and teacher
supplements. For FY16, the County’s appropriation is funding approximately 359 instructional
In FY 2011, the County’s appropriation helped fund local salary supplements and were distributed as listed below: