This week, Wayne County Public Schools and the County of Wayne learned that the county will receive an additional $9 million in Needs-Based Public School Grant Funds for the construction of a new Fremont Elementary. This is in addition to the $15 million previously awarded in 2020.
“We are very pleased to receive these additional funds and look forward to breaking ground on the new Fremont Elementary in the near future,” states Dr. David Lewis, superintendent.
Last fall, the North Carolina General Assembly made legislative changes for the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund Grant program which took effect in January 2022.
“Under the new guidance, the school district was able to reapply for additional funding,” states Dr. Tim Harrell, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services. “There were a number of financial benefits from the legislative changes. We hope the additional funds cover the majority of the project and will allow the school district to address any rising construction costs without creating added financial burden to the county.”
In addition to being able to reapply for additional funds, two significant financial benefits of the legislative grant program changes for Wayne County include:
- The new required county match for Wayne is 5% (down from the 25% previously required), reducing the minimum county match from $5 million to $1.2 million.
- Wayne County is no longer required to forfeit lottery funds for a period of five years. This will save the county approximately $6 million over the next five years.
“We want to thank Wayne County Public Schools for applying for the additional $9 million in state grant funding,” states Chairman Joe Daughtery, Wayne County Board of Commissioners. “We appreciate our local delegation in the General Assembly for working to provide funding for school construction without losing critical lottery dollars earmarked for other school capital needs. We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to a new elementary school in Fremont!”
In October 2020, Wayne County Public Schools and Wayne County was awarded a $15 million grant through the State’s Need-Based Public School Capital Fund grant program.
The new school will have the same design as the recently built Meadow Lane Elementary. It is important to note that the school will be able to accommodate more than three times as many students as the current school of approximately 200 students, which will be vital for helping address K-3 class-size needs in Northern Wayne County. It will also have energy efficient HVAC systems, upgraded furniture and technology, and advanced safety and security features.
The Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund was established in 2017 by the North Carolina General Assembly. The purpose of the State fund is to assist lower wealth counties (development tier one and tier two counties) with their critical public school building capital needs. The state grant funds must be used for construction of new school buildings only, and cannot be used for real property acquisition.