Betsy Flanagan

Flanagan

A Pitt County school board member is running for the Board of Commissioners, citing a need for more financial support for teachers.

Betsy Flanagan, who holds the District 4 seat on the Board of Education, filed today as a Republican candidate for District C seat on the Board of Commissioners.

District C, one of three super districts on the nine-seat board, encompasses Districts 4 and 5, the areas of western Pitt County, Winterville and portions of Greenville.

“The main issues are related to funding public education in Pitt County and the teachers’ supplement and all that the teachers went through with the budget process,” Flanagan said. “It’s important for our county commissioners to have a deeper understanding of the need for that county supplement, those additional dollars to help us plug that gap between what it takes to adequately fund our public schools and what the state gives us.”

During the fiscal year 2019-20 budgeting process, Pitt County schools sought additional funding from the county so it could increase the local teacher pay supplement to 7 percent. Education leaders said it would be the first of a multiple-year process to increase the local supplement to better compete with counties that offer larger supplements.

The commissioners approved a 3.5-cent overall tax increase, directing that two-tenths of a cent be added to the school system budget. However, the commissioners didn’t specify that it be used for the pay supplement.

Flanagan said the county increase was enough to fund a 6 percent teacher pay supplement for a quarter of the school year.

The District C seat is currently held by veteran County Commissioner Beth Ward.

Others who filed at noon today included Don Rhodes, husband to Pitt County Clerk of Court Sara Beth Fulford Rhodes, who filed as a candidate for Board of Education District 4, the seat that Flanagan currently holds.

Incumbent school board members Benjie Forrest of District 9, Worth Forbes of District 6 and Melinda Fagundus of District 8 filed for re-election.

Pitt County Register of Deeds Lisa Nichols also filed for re-election.

This story will be updated as more candidates file.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.