In late 2019, Harnett County schools took their $41,500 capital credit refund and put it into the career and technical education, or CTE, department. “Harnett County Schools CTE serves students in grades 6-12,” said Justin Wilkinson, director of Career and Technical Education at Harnett County schools. “Program areas include: agricultural, business, career development, family and consumer sciences; health science, marketing and entrepreneurship, trade, and industrial educations.”
Once the school system received its capital credit refund, Superintendent Dr. Aaron Fleming placed the money into the CTE budget, where he knew it would be well spent. The CTE department, in turn, offered grants to teachers to help provide resources and funding for projects that their standard CTE budget would not fund.
“CTE is a pretty special program area when it comes to public education. We receive three different funding sources: federal, state, and local," said Wilkinson.
"Federal and state are our largest allotments, but also have very specific guidelines on what funds can be spent on. The Harnett County Schools CTE program is very fortunate to have a local CTE allotment. Many local education agencies across the state do not have this support,” added Wilkinson.
The local funding source allows more flexibility in making purchases such as for permanent structures, or enhancements used to generate funding, which federal and state funds do not cover.
Teachers were able to apply for a grant in the amount of $2,000, with applications limited to one request per teacher. However, Career Development Coordinators from each school could place requests on behalf of the entire school.
"We put an initial cap on each request. We are expanding several program areas across the county, so we might use a larger portion of the funding to aid in these efforts,” said Wilkinson. “An example of this would be helping fund a portion of a barn project to support an animal science program."
The grant application period ran up against the shutdown of schools for COVID, so there were fewer applications at the time than expected.
Another round of grant funding will be offered for CTE programs in the 2021-22 school year when instructors are back in the schools and making full use of labs and shops.
Projects funded thus far include agriculture, video production and editing, construction, biotechnology, career development, program marketing, and campus beautification. Requests ranged from classroom supplies that CTE funds that can't be used to purchase, to upgraded video and presentation equipment.
“So far we have over 500 students impacted by the grant offered from the school’s capital credit refund,” said Wilkinson. “We still have a few unfinished projects that are district and campus wide, so we are very excited to see these come to fruition.”
One such project is having concrete poured for Western Harnett High's greenhouse, which will bring it into American Disabilities Act, or ADA, compliance.
Another project is Harnett Central High's proposal, which allows student to compare gas powered and battery engines.
As a not-for-profit cooperative, South River EMC doesn’t technically earn profits. Instead, any revenues over and above the cost of doing business, called margins, are returned to you.
This is done every year, and all Cooperative members are eligible, including residential, agricultural, commercial, and educational institution members. That’s right, any of our members who use electricity receive capital credits.
Learn More About Capital Credits
South River EMC serves 18 schools across three counties and Harnett County students continue to be the beneficiaries of their county's annual capital credit rebates. See answers to the most frequently asked questions about capital credits.