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School Board mulls cuts

February 07, 2001|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

School Board mulls cuts



CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Board of Education began looking Tuesday night for ways to cut back on expenses to deal with a possible budget shortfall that might reach $600,000.

School Board member Peter Morgens questioned Superintendent of Schools David W. Markoe whether the School Board could consider delaying textbook purchases.

"That's something we are going to discuss for next year's budget," Markoe said.

School Board member Paul Manzuk said he believes the school system can get a waiver from plans to buy textbooks.

Markoe said purchase of new textbooks is not as critical in some subject areas as in others. In literature, for example, the subject area does not change much, Markoe said.

School Board member Pete Dougherty said he wanted see a detailed list of new positions that have been created recently so the board can review it.

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A number of issues could create a possible budget shortfall, namely lower-than- projected property tax revenues, Markoe told board members.

The School Board had projected $16 million in tax revenues this fiscal year, but it appears the revenue could fall short by about $359,000, Markoe said. The fiscal year ends June 30.

The school system is also seeing increased utility costs, primarily for electricity, Markoe said.

"I don't know if you have looked at your heating bills, but ours have been pretty high," Markoe told board members.

Maintenance workers have been trying to cut utility costs by cutting back on energy use in schools at night, Markoe said.

Markoe said he has been holding meetings with principals in an attempt to identify cost-cutting measures. Some of those ideas include cutting back on professional travel, cutting back on custodial services, reducing substitute- employee use and charging outside groups for use of school buildings after hours.

Board members said they want to avoid any cuts that would affect instruction.

School administrators looked at different pots of money in the budget that could be used to make up for any shortfall, Markoe said. Some money that was put aside for field trips for students was taken out of the budget, but administrators were able to replace the field trip funding with Step 7 funding, which comes from the state, according to Markoe.

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