The Alamance-Burlington School System discussed a revised financial reduction plan at a work session held Tuesday, Feb. 13, days after State Sen. Amy Galey requested an investigation into the school system’s finances.

The investigation request comes after a year of financial hardship for the school system. In summer 2023, ABSS spent nearly $26 million on cleaning up 32 of its 36 schools after a mold outbreak. School board chair Sandy Ellington-Graves declared that the school district was in financial crisis in November 2023. At the end of January, superintendent Dain Butler announced a plan to lay off and reduce hours for over 50 employees, including school nurses, social workers and counselors, which was put on hold after county commissioners approved money to delay the reduction in force.

Joseph Navin | Elon News Network

Alamance-Burlington School System Superintendent Dain Butler speaks inside ABSS Central Offices on Feb. 8 in Burlington.

Following the Feb. 5 meeting, ABSS announced it will review all positions and programs over the upcoming summer in preparation for the next academic year. This is in addition to their current hiring freeze on all non-teaching positions, which has been going on since Nov. 30, 2023.

Galey, a Republican who represents District 25, requested the investigation to the State General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, also known as “Gov Ops,” on Feb. 5. District 25 includes Alamance County and part of Randolph County. 

“It’s a committee that’s been around a while, but the budget last year in 2023 gave the Gov Ops commission new powers…so now we can subpoena and it gives whistleblower protections to employees,” Galey said. “So Gov Ops is an opportunity for some kind of impartial, outside look at how taxpayer funds have been used.”

ABSS held a meeting with its state delegation on Feb. 8, where they discussed the reduction in force plan and a new financial reduction plan to save money going forward. At the meeting, Galey said she requested the investigation now because of the short legislative session this year — beginning at the end of April and lasting into July.

“Once a short session is over, then that won't be available until the beginning of the last session next year,” Galey said. “That is the reason that I wanted to go ahead and get this started. It is definitely my intention to inform people as we move along.”

Galey said the timeline of the investigation is in flux, because it depends on how long it takes people the committee works with to respond and how much information they find that is relevant.

Galey is not a sitting member on the Gov Ops committee. The roughly 40-person committee, chaired by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore is in charge of providing oversight on governmental organizations in North Carolina.