Officials with the Murray Independent School District and the Calloway County Schools say they are not happy with a 2 percent budget cut for the current school year and plans for an additional cut for 2012-13.
MISD Superintendent Bob Rogers said he was notified by Kentucky Department of Education officials about a mid-year reduction in state funding of $157,294.
“These cuts, adjustments and reductions, when coupled with the increasing demands of implementing new standards, programs, etc., are making it very difficult for us,” Rogers said. “Receiving the news at this time doesn't exactly put one in the ‘holiday spirit.’”
In a release to superintendents across the state, KDE officials reported receiving notification from Mary E. Lassiter, state budget director, that a mid-year budget cut will be necessary.
“The good news is that it is not the 5 percent cut that we thought might be coming but instead is a 2 percent reduction,” the KDE message states. “This equates to approximately $6 million for KDE. The approach will be to make the cuts across the board.”
MISD Board of Education officials will discuss the impact of the cuts during their next meeting set for Thursday, Jan. 12.
Calloway County’s allocation of state funding was reported to be cut by $235,237.
Superintendent Kennith Bargo put the cut in perspective during a meeting Tuesday night.
“You can call that five beginning teachers. We can call it three school buses. We can call it tires for the school bus fleet for a year, a small storage building ... These are all things this is not going to cover,” said Bargo. “It means the budget prepared for that year is going to be at a minimum that (amount) short.”
Bargo said this is the fourth year in a row K-12 education in Kentucky has seen funds reduced in some way.
The school district’s budget audit presented Dec. 8 showed Calloway County has a very strong budget contingency fund at 17 percent of the general fund. The minimum amount mandated is 2 percent.
Bargo said a healthy reserve will help sustain the district as funding shrinks, but it cannot be the solution in the long-term as inflation increases the district’s need.
“Right now we’re looking at any area we’re putting money into that we don’t need to at this point. The cuts will cause us to look at our contingency funds for next year as to how much we put in there and as to how much we put in our general budget,” stated Bargo.
The Calloway County School Board will also discuss funding cuts further at its regular meeting in January.
More information about the cuts is forthcoming, it was reported.