09/30/04 — School board to consider budget cuts later

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School board to consider budget cuts later

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 30, 2004 2:03 PM

The school board's finance committee tentatively ap-proved a budget resolution that includes the new teacher supplement but not the $900,000 in cuts that the school system says it will have to make.

Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for finance, said the resolution is a legal requirement that needs to be in place by Oct. 15.

The proposed budget is $148.4 million as compared with last year's figures of $133.4 million. The increase is primarily due to funds received from state and federal sources.

"Technically, the numbers are inflated," Mrs. Barwick said. "They are higher than they'll end up being with the $900,000 in cuts. But by law we have got to go ahead and do this now."

She said the budget resolution reflects basic operating information that is required by law to be approved by Oct. 15. At the November board meeting, the recommended budget cuts will be presented, she said, representing a truer picture of the budget.

Earlier this month, the county commissioners reach-ed a compromise with the school board to raise the teacher supplement from 3.5 percent to 6.5 percent, effective in the spring.

Mrs. Barwick said the proposed budget, to be voted on at the regular board meeting on Monday night, replaces the interim budget that had been put in place through the end of September.

"This is the simplest way to approach it at this point," she said.

Schools Superintendent Steve Taylor said that he and Mrs. Barwick will confer with schools to determine the areas where the budget cuts will be made. The school system has until November to present that information, Mrs. Barwick said, and those recommendations will be introduced as an amendment to the budget.

The finance committee also proposed to increase money budgeted for the Communities in Schools program.

In a letter from Director Sudie Davis, the board was asked to consider a $5,000 increase from the $25,000 that has been allotted annually since the 2000-2001 school year.

She said increases in insurance premiums and operating costs over the last three years, as well as expanded services offered by the program, warranted the additional funds.

"With our grants, contracts, cash donations, and in-kind donations, our budget was $234,764 in 2002-2003," she said in the letter. "We feel this represents a strong return on the school system's $25,000 investment."

Board member George Moye recommended the full amount be budgeted for the program. Board member John Grantham was more hesitant, saying things are tight and that he didn't see that the board could allot the entire $5,000.

Dr. Taylor suggested the group consider honoring a portion of the request this year and possibly increase it further next year.

The group agreed on $3,000 and will seek board approval at Monday night's meeting.