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County school board eyes budget cuts

May 21, 2001

County school board eyes budget cuts



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education must cut $1.4 million from its $128 million fiscal 2002 operating budget if it plans to approve the budget Tuesday afternoon, as scheduled.

The School Board had asked the County Commissioners for a $6.9 million increase over the county's current year allocation of $63 million.

The County Commissioners ended up allocating $1.4 million less than the School Board requested, making it necessary to cut some priorities from the budget.

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"The cuts are going to be difficult," School Board member Paul Bailey said Sunday. "I hope that we do not have to cut programs that impact students."

Last week, School Board President J. Herbert Hardin said cuts could be made to personnel or salaries.

Before County Commissioners decided last week to contribute an additional $200,000 to schools, the school board faced $1.6 million in cuts.

The additional $200,000 may be used only for a one-time cost identified by the School Board. The commissioners suggested that the money be put into the reserves of the School Board's health insurance program.

"Anytime you get $200,000, it's meaningful, but it's a long way from solving the problems we have with the budget," Bailey said.

The additional $200,000 will not help the School Board fund budget increases that are a part of contractual obligations with its staff, including workshop pay increases, elementary leadership compensation and salary increases, he said.

As of Sunday, the board had not decided what budget items would be cut, he said.

The board will discuss the cuts at a budget work session at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the central office. Immediately following the work session, the board will hold a business meeting, where it could approve its final budget.

Some of the priorities included in the budget are:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $5.3 million for salary increases for all staff

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $2.3 million in health insurance rate increases

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $896,000 for 16 replacement school buses

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $350,000 for increased energy costs

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $120,873 for a 1 percent general inflationary increase

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $168,000 for three additional school buses.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $74,875 for a negotiated fuel adjustment with school bus contractors

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $53,460 for a negotiated increase to teacher workshop pay

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $34,560 for negotiated elementary leadership compensation

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $64,400 for a rental fee for school copiers

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $138,000 for additional contracted bus routes in the Hancock area

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $7,971 for increases for athletic officials

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