- Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2012 16:09
- Published on Wednesday, 25 January 2012 16:09
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The King George School Board members this week agreed that they needed a lot more information about current-year finances before they can make decisions regarding a proposed budget request for 2012-13.
At the meeting on Jan. 23 they said they needed lots of details about the current year’s budget as a starting point for next year’s request. (See related article elsewhere in this issue about
The School Board had received a small section of the same year-to-date financial report that had been provided to Supervisors last week, indicating a current projected shortfall for the division of $339,835 in the year’s 2011-12 budget. That sparked comment.
John Davis said, “I think we need a work session on this budget that we are actually in, before we go and ask anybody for more money.” Other members agreed.
Kristin Tolliver stated, “We haven’t seen any real numbers, yet.” She added, “We need to see the detail.” Ken Novell said, “I agree. I think we need to see it by line item.”
Chairman Mike Rose said that they hadn’t been provided regular financial reports last year by the previous superintendent, adding, “This is only the second report I’ve seen in six months.” Even so, that prior report had not been provided at a public meeting by Candace Brown.
The discussion about how to proceed took place following a public comment period that brought nine school employees, mostly teachers, to the podium. Some angry, some pleading, but all making heartfelt requests for the promised two percent raises that were slated to be provided this month, but are on hold for the time being.
Speakers included John Day, Yvonne Richard, Donald Saunders, Sharon Greer, Oneal Matthews, Kathy Heil, Maggie Chapin, Rita Kovach, and Urzetta Lewis who made comments, amidst a full audience of supportive peers.
With that decision to scrutinize the 2011-12 budget during next week’s work session on Monday, Jan. 30, School Board members hope to find some options for making cuts to get the budget into balance.
Interim superintendent Stanley Jones said of their requests for more budget data, “This first report was to give you a start. But you can get that. It’s not a secret.” He said he had a meeting scheduled with county finance staff to review budget information, adding, “We’ll get those numbers for you.”
Davis stated, “Either we can look to see where we can find the $339,000 or direct Mr. Jones to find it.” Rick Randall said, “I would also suggest we do both, and ask Mr. Jones where he might make cuts to recommend to us.”
Monday’s work session will set the stage for their joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors the next day on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Both meetings are open to the public, but no public comment period will appear on either agenda, since they are work sessions.
Another agenda item at the same meeting was to request the Board of Supervisors to transfer $150,000 from the county’s Capital Improvement Program fund for a well replacement project at the former middle school. Rose seized on that transfer as a way to cut their shortfall.
Rose stated, “If they are willing to give us that money back, I think we should ask if we can put it into our operation and maintenance budget to help with our shortfall.” He added, “I think it would be ridiculous to ask for $150,000 for a middle school well, when we have all these people sitting here who need a two percent raise.”
That suggestion to ask to scrap a needed capital project that has finally worked its way to the top of the funding queue after being requested by the School Board for several years is likely to be refused.
Randall, appeared willing to give it a try, but skeptical, saying, “As long as we don’t pretend we are asking for $150,000 for a well and use it for other purposes.” Rose said, “We can talk about that at the joint meeting.”
JOINT MEETING ISSUES
Supervisors have reiterated that they won’t cut back county funding for the current year, despite a state funding cut. But, that board is not expected to provide an increase for next year’s budget with the enrollment anticipated to be lower than the current year.
That topic will be on the agenda at next week’s scheduled joint work session between the two boards on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Supervisors continue to be frugal with the county’s budget and funding to other agencies due to the continuing uncertain economy. That is coupled with the fact that the driving force behind funding for education by both the state and by localities begins with the number of students for which educational services, materials and personnel are needed.
As of a Jan. 5 enrollment report for the division, there are 4,094 students, which is currently being projected to translate to an ADM of 4,074 according to chairman Rose, 4,070 according to interim superintendent Stanley Jones, and 4,058 according to state projections. Regardless of which number hits the actual nail on the head for the current school and fiscal 2011-12 year, next year’s ADM is being projected by all three at a lower number of 4,049 students.
Several of the last few years have provided student enrollment numbers and resulting ADM where the growth has not reached the level anticipated. But this current year, 2011-12, is in fact the first year that the actual number of students has declined, and is reflected in the lower ADM figure. And fewer students are anticipated for the division for next school year and fiscal year.
It bears repeating that the driving force behind the level of education funding by both the state and by localities is the number of students for which educational services, materials and personnel are needed.
2012-13 PROJECTED REVENUES
An ADM of 4,049 is anticipated to provide $18,771,203 from the state, according to the Governor’s proposed budget. The numbers could change after the state’s General Assembly gets through with it.
The Governor’s proposal would also mean a “required local effort” from King George of funding in the amount of about $8,746,617.
But the initial funding proposal under consideration is proposing the School Board ask the county for $6.3 million more, at $15,069,249.
That would be nearly $3 million more than the county has provided in the current year, which is erroneously based on a bloated ADM.