State finances to fund increased training initiatives at UNCW and new packages focusing on grade-schoolers

The North Carolina budget approves massive funding for capital projects at UNCW and other initiatives that benefit K-12 students in the Cape Fear area. (Courtesy Photo by Bradley Pearce / UNCW)

WILMINGTON – With the North Carolina Compromise Budget approved, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington will benefit from numerous capital projects and employee benefits made possible by the state funds.

“The budget has been expected for a long time and is certainly exciting news for UNCW and our staff,” said Chancellor Jose Sartarelli in a press release last week. “The budget goes well to higher education in North Carolina, including support for many UNC system initiatives such as:

The budget references will increase for civil servants in the next two years and one-time, four-digit bonuses from federal funds.

“The budget’s investment in government employees, particularly in the dedicated faculties and staff at UNCW and other universities, is a positive step in recognizing the value university employees bring to their campuses, communities, and the state of North Carolina,” said Sartarelli, who will retire in June. “Restoring salary increases combined with new recurring and one-time funding will help the UNCW continue to thrive now and in the future.”

The UNCW’s net funds from the general sovereign wealth fund for the 2021-2022 fiscal year beginning in July amount to approximately US $ 148 million. That is two million more than the annual budget prescribed in the last state budget signed in 2019.

In addition, more than $ 73 million has been approved for project funding. The budget sees a full go-ahead for the $ 56 million renovation and expansion of the Randall Library, numerous security improvements, and a nearly $ 10 million renovation of the Center for Marine Science building.

Other highlights in the budget are:

$ 12.75 million to research within the UNC system to eradicate GenX: The money will go to the North Carolina Collaboratory to continue work at universities, including UNCW, to study GenX and other PFAS. At least $ 10 million will be invested in the development of technologies to filter and reduce the presence of the chemicals in drinking water (the budget also states that the Collaboratory should “employ” the faculty and staff of the UNCW in project management for these efforts) .

$ 994,000 to plan a new facility for Isaac Bear Early College High School at UNCW as a partner institution: Funding requires that the university and the Neu Hannover district schools agree on the location and their own funding sources by June 30, 2022. The school is currently housed in modular units. This funding covers the construction costs. According to district spokesman Russell Clark: “No agreement is currently expected between the UNCW and NHCS for planning purposes.”

Other budget items relevant to New Hanover County schools and education:

$ 500,000 to provide a Targeted Grant to Child Development Center, Inc. a New Hanover County nonprofit that provides services to preschoolers with special needs.

$ 70,000 grant to communities in Cape Fear schools: The nonprofit’s executive director Louise Hicks said the money will be used immediately through the school’s student support specialists. At 15 needy schools in New Hanover and Pender counties, the professionals provide academic and behavioral support to referral students. CIS will expand to five more schools this January.

“We are very grateful to have been accepted,” added Hicks.

$ 4 million for capital improvements at SEATech: The funds will support the expansion of professional and specialist programs on site, including residential and commercial construction, business and information technology.

$ 583,500 to set up a two-year pilot program with Cape Fear Community College, New Hanover County Schools, and Pender County Schools: The partnership will provide opportunities for vocational training for 7th to 9th grade students from underperforming schools and underserved populations. The funds provide for a summer program and four two-year, temporary positions for career counseling.

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