As many as twenty-eight school jobs hang in the balance
In May 24 issue, Russell County News By Greg Wells Managing Editor
“As it stands right now we’ll loose 14 teachers and 14 classroom aids out of the general fund,” said Superintendent Scott Pierce. “Eleven of those are regular teachers and three are special ed. teachers.”
One of the upsetting things about this budget crunch for the schools, Pierce said, is that it may not be as bad as they are expecting, but there is now way to know yet.
He said that some of the figures for state funding supplied sent to the district so far have not been the same any time they have sent them. “We don’t know how much we’ll get in federal funds yet either,” Pierce added.
He said Wednesday that he is expecting to be able to keep some of the teaching and possibly some of the aid positions that are cut in these figures once the real funding announcements are in, but until then there isn’t anything they can do.
“That’s the bad thing is that we’ll have to send slips out to some of these teachers and they won’t know until we get the rest of the money if they will really have a job next year or not,” Pierce said.
He added that the numbers of jobs he is required to budget for at this point are not necessarily correct for another reason.
“We’ll send this to the site based committees and they may decide they want more teachers and fewer aids or more aids and one or two fewer teachers,” Pierce explained.
The figures he announced Monday at this week’s school board meeting were 23 teachers at Jamestown, 34.5 at Russell Springs, 17 at Salem, 9 at Union, 21 at the middle school and 37 at the high school. But as he explained later this week those figures could be altered by the site-based committees and will very likely go up with the addition of “Fund 1 and Fund 2” teachers.
At the meeting earlier this week the board set a special called meeting, for noon on May 28 to address the tentative budget. That budget is required to be in Frankfort June.
After this week’s meeting Pierce explained that some of the strain on the district’s budget comes from the improvement in the county’s value.
He said the district adjust the tax rate every year to increase the revenue no more than 4 percent. That is the amount of increase allowed by a Kentucky law, without triggering a county-wide vote on the rate.
Pierce said the issue arises because the state reduces the amount of money they send the district every year based on the increase in the taxable value of the property in the county.
Every dollar that value increase over 4 percent is a cut in the district’s funding that they can’t make up without a tax hike locally.
Along with that he said the funding for transportation is not keeping pace with the rising cost of fuel.
That brought up an issue he said many people don’t understand about the laws governing school budgets.
“The state appropriates money in specific funds,” Pierce said. “We are not able to mix money from one fund to another. If they send us money for construction that is all we are allowed to use it for.”
He added that he has asked that the district be allowed to use some money built up in the elementary schools’ construction fund to pay for more teachers, but he doubts that the request will be approved.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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Jamestown KY 42629