In Jan. 28 Issue
The Russell County School Board got bleak news this week on the budget.
Superintendent Scott Pierce said the balanced budget for this present school year was $17 million but given state budget forecasts at present the budget could be $16 million for next year.
The district had faced almost the identical situation the previous year, but federal stimulus spending directly to education and to the state made up the tax shortfalls that would have meant cuts.
"That stimulus money we've had this year won't be there next year," Pierce said in an interview after the meeting. "If the trend continues we could see a million-dollars less for this next year's budget."
He said that actual figures will depend on the legislature's budget.
Pierce added that most districts are planning on having the same funding from the feds and state as last year, but he doesn't see that as likely. And to make sure the district is ready, "I'm looking at the worst case scenario."
As he has said before the local taxing district is something of a reversal of fortune for the district. "As local property values have been rising the state cuts the amount of funding sent down," Pierce explained.
He added that cities, and counties are facing similar problems as state revenue sources are down and the White House is proposing additional cuts in federal spending.
All the while, he said, prices go up and mandated pay raises continue to kick in as utility rate increases are hitting schools especially hard, Pierce said.
But he said all of it is an exercise in accounting at this point until the Kentucky General Assembly decides what it is going to do to balance the budget.
Meanwhile the treasurer's report contained negative figures in several of the sub-accounts though the district balance ended the month with a million more than it started, $3.13 million
"That is the December report a those accounts are balanced up after taxes are deposited in the accounts," Pierce explained after the meeting. "Those numbers are negative to budget, not actual expenditures."