BOE’s budget gap growing

Published 9:21 pm Friday, May 14, 2010

The gap between revenues and expenses has increased, in the wrong direction, for the Decatur County Board of Education.

In April, the board was informed that the budget gap, after numerous and deep expense reductions, was roughly $268,000.

After learning this week of additional state funding cuts and the decrease in the total tax digest in the county, the projected gap between revenue and expenditures stands at $628,000.

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A decrease of 2 percent in the county’s total property tax values equates to $369,000 in property tax revenues to the school system.

The reduction of the overall tax digest means that the board would need to increase the millage rate about 0.5 mils from the current rate of 12.71 mils to generate the same amount of revenue.

At a special called meeting Tuesday night, the board reviewed the $3.4 million in previously presented expense reductions from various sources. Those sources include a reduction of 22 full-time staff positions through attrition, six furlough days for all employees, and elimination or reduction of locally paid supplements to certain teachers and coaches.

An option not taken by the board to reduce costs was to eliminate further teaching positions.

May 15 was the deadline, by state mandate, to offer teacher contracts and Superintendent Ralph Jones asked the board’s input on whether to go forward with contract renewals, or not.

Jones was instructed to proceed with renewal of all current teacher contracts and the budget gap would be addressed at a later time.