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Washington County Board of Education trims system's deficit by $1M

Jennifer Sprouse • Jul 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM

The Washington County Board of Education announced at Tuesday night’s meeting that they had trimmed down the $3.4 million the school system is out of balance by $1 million, which has board members and Director of Schools Ron Dykes hoping that cuts they’ve already made will act in good faith when the remaining $2.4 million is presented to the County Commission’s Budget Committee on Tuesday morning.

Dykes said Wednesday evening that some funding items removed to decrease the amount of the system is out of balance for the 2013-14 school year included teaching positions and capital projects.

“We began with reassessing the student population. We had eliminated 10 teaching positions. These were acquired through attrition, so these are people who have ... retired or resigned,” he said. “I think that in itself is about a half million dollars.”

Dykes said the 10 positions eliminated were K-8 positions systemwide and depended on individual school student populations, but he said the pupil to teacher ratios in the schools are still in compliance with state law.

Dykes said some capital projects were also able to be moved that were in the original budget.

“The County Commission is considering floating a bond issue to take care of some of our capital needs. We had some capital projects in our operating budget and we’re going to fund those through the capital funds that hopefully will ... become available,” he said.

Dykes said over the past five years money has been lost due to the loss of ARRA funds, as well as dealing with the 2 percent inflation rate every year.

He said the school systems uses the fund balance each year to balance the budget and said right now the balance is very low. Dykes said the board of education is going to request that the budget committee develop a plan to fund the $2.4 million currently out of balance.

If the County Commission does not fund the $2.4 million deficit, then additional cuts may have to be made, Dykes said.

“I would hope that they would consider trimming the budget $1 millionas good faith and I hope they see the need to fund education adequately. Hopefully they’ll find some pennies that they can reallocate or some way to generate some additional revenue for schools. We’re in dire need of such.”

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