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A look at NHCS Superintendent's budget and travel spending this year

Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust explained how the Constitution wasn't written with his ancestors in mind. November 21, 2023.
NHCS YouTube
Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust explained how the Constitution wasn't written with his ancestors in mind. November 21, 2023.

This budget year, New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust’s office has an overall budget of $752,719, according to the district. This is a 3.3% decrease compared to last year. However, it does represent a 16% increase when compared to his 2021 office budget.

Foust’s travel records from January until October 2023 show he’s spent $7,669 on flights, car rentals, and hotel stays for workshops, conferences, and superintendent meetings. (*Note: Receipts sent by the district are at the end of this report.)

When Foust rents a car, which was about five times this year, it’s always been an SUV (models included Yukon, Suburban, Tahoe, Murano, and Armada). When asked why he rents this particular type of vehicle, the district did not respond.

In terms of staying within his travel and conference budget, Chief Financial Officer Ashley Sutton said that Foust doesn’t have an overbudget line that would require a transfer as of yet, but that it’s “allowable for budget transfers to be done if needed.”

Foust has a salary of $253,517; the state pays for $149,165, and local dollars contribute $96,492. The remainder, $7,860, is for his cell phone bills and travel allowance. State and local funds combined also contribute $87,541 towards his social security, benefits, and retirement.

His office budget also supports two salaried positions worth a total of $129,467.

Related: See how Foust’s salary stands up against other local leaders

Also under the umbrella of the superintendent is a $300,000 local allocation for legal services. Other high-budget items include $59,809 for contracted services and $50,687 for membership dues and fees. His office also has $20,366 allocated for supplies and materials and $18,999 for ‘other food purchases.'

In August, Foust’s contract was extended until June 30, 2027, in a vote 6-1, with Board Member Melissa Mason dissenting.

Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR