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Board of Ed cuts $1M from budget, nobody losing job

Washington County Board of Education members approved a second draft of the 2013-14 budget last week that reduces the school system’s deficit by $1 million.
“It’s essentially the same budget as submitted with four changes,” Director of Schools Ron Dykes told Finance Committee members during their July 9 meeting, prior to the full board’s convening.
An additional $376,000 will be received from the state this year, though Dykes said the funds are restricted to infrastructure use in preparation for the online assessment that will begin in spring 2015.
An increase of $70,000 in collected property taxes was the second adjustment in expected revenue.
On the expenditures side of the budget, almost $500,000 will be saved by not filling 10 instructional positions that will be assumed by the system through attrition and loss of student population.
“It’s good to keep those positions in there to show a good (student:teacher) ratio, but we have to show a good faith effort to county commissioners in cutting costs,” Dykes said.
The $70,000 purchase of transportation vehicles also was removed from the budget, which lowers the deficit to $2.5 million.“The fund balance is still tight, but I would recommend approval,” Dykes said.
Finance Committee member Mary Lo Silvers made a motion to recommend the second draft to the board. The motion was seconded by committee member Bill Brinkley and passed with unanimous approval.
During the meeting of the full board later that night, Jack Leonard said he was glad they were able to trim $1 million from the budget without letting go of anyone.
“I know what it’s like to be given a paper to go home, and I don’t want to do that to somebody,” he said.
The $2.8 million included for the schools in the proposed debt offering under consideration by commissioners would go a long way in making up that deficit.
“If, in fact, the county commission does generate $2.8 million, those dollars would go into a general fund balance and be able to be used in ways the board decides,” Dykes said.
BOE members unanimously approved recommending the out-of-balance budget to the county Budget Committee during its July 16 meeting.
Executive Editor Kristen Swing
contributed to this story.