While the state legislature passed it's education budget last week, Clay Community Schools administrators are still unsure if the corporation will receive an increase in state funding.
The potential funding is based on the district's Average Daily Membership (ADM), or number of enrolled students.
If ADM increases by 30 next year, the school corporation will get a 1.2 percent increase and if ADM increases by an additional 30 the following year, a 2.9 percent increase is anticipated.
ADM has fluctuated up and down over the past several years. Because it's unpredictable, administrators have no idea how much state funding the school corporation will actually receive this year until ADM is announced by the Indiana Department of Education sometime in June.
In case there is no increase, administrators and school board members discussed 23 steps they could take to keep the cash flowing last night at a special budget meeting.
Thomas Rohr, superintendent, outlined 23 line items the school board had tossed around at earlier meetings in April and put a dollar figure with each of them (see sidebar).
"Is it imperiative to do all these things? No. You can end up with a positive cash balance in 2003. But I want you to look past that and into the future of a negative cash balance for 2004 and 2005. It would be beneficial to take the necessary steps now to alleviate the problem," Rohr said.
Bob Atkinson, board member, said Rohr's recommendations hurt the actual classroom the least and was in favor of doing whatever would least affect students and teachers.
Rohr said cash balance and expenditure figures for the next three years are basically the same with one major difference.
The state legislature has allowed Capital Project Fund monies to be transferred into the General Fund to pay for insurance and utilities. The General Fund budget for 2004 of 1 percent is $250,000 that could be transferred and 2 percent could be transferred in 2005.
CPF dollars are generated by the county's property tax rate and school corporation money set aside specifically for CPF.
"We have two options. First, we can reduce the money set aside for CPF or we can increase the tax rate. A 1 cent increase would generate $50,000. But with (property tax) reassessments not being done, we underestimated how much money the school corporation will receive. It could be anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000," Rohr said.
Steve Grigsby, board member, said he thought the transfers would give the community a false sense of security.
"I don't support the transfer for two reasons. We've already done that in the past for building maintenance and to install air conditioning and I don't know how long Tom (Reberger, building and grounds supervisor) can continue having money taken out. And second, I don't know how long the legislature will continue to allow the transfer," he said.
Rohr said the legislature would be under a lot of educational lobbying pressure to continue allowing the flexibility of making the transfer and suggested the board ought to make the transfer when it approves the 2004 budget.
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Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees will vote or pass on each of the 23 items separately at the next school board meeting which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 8 at North Clay Middle School.
1.Eliminate corporation promotional expense. The State Board of Accounts allows each school corporation to spend $1 per student on recognition ceremonies, et cetera. Savings would be $4,500 in 2004.
2. Eliminate requirement for school board attorney to attend all board meetings. Savings would be $1,250 in 2003 and $2,500 in 2004.
3.Eliminate academic honors diploma payments to students. The board is committed in 2003 but savings for 2004 would be $55,000.
4. Reduce amount of cell phones to eight. Savings for 2003 would be $2,000 and $4,000 for 2004.
5. Offer no summer school. Savings for 2004 would be $10,000.
6. Reduce instructional supply account by 20 percent. Savings would be $15,000 in 2003 and $30,000 in 2004.
7. Restrict hiring subs for conference travel, excused days and field trips could save the corporation $7,500 in 2003 and $15,000 in 2004.
8. Reducing one LPN (licensed practical nurse) position could save $7,380 in 2003 and $21,324 in 2004.
9. Not replacing the retiring media specialist position at Forest Park Elementary and Instructional Media Center. Savings would be $22,815 in 2003 and $61,617 in 2004.
10. Not replacing the retiring media specialist position at Van Buren and Jackson Township Elementaries. Savings would be $22,815 in 2003 and $61,617 in 2004.
11. Eliminate software training specialist. Savings for 2003 would be $13,123 and $37,911 in 2004.
12. Not replacing retiring maintenance position would save $12,136 in 2003 and $35,060 in 2004.
13. Payment of extra-curricular activities academic teams from the gifted and talented grant would save $3,638 in 2003 and $10,512 in 2004.
14. Payment of extra-curricular activities vocational teams from the Carl Perkins grant would save $1,783 in 2003 and $5,050 in 2004.
15. Reduction of instructional assistant positions by 10. Each of those positions pays $10,147. So a savings of $40,972 in 2003 would be realized with a $118,365 savings for 2004.
16.Eliminate food service/custodial supervisory position. Savings would be $9,500 in 2003 and $27,634 in 2004.
17. Not replacing retiring guidance counselor position at the high school and transferring a guidance counselor from the middle school into that position would save $21,374 in 2003 and $61,748 in 2004.
18. Eliminate one printing period would save $4,275 in 2003 and $12,350 in 2004.
19. Reduction in force (RIF) of four elementary positions. This action was taken at the last board meeting in April. It will save $52,620 in 2003 and $152,014 in 2004.
20. RIF 2.9 positions at the secondary level. This action was also taken at the last board meeting in April. It will save $38,150 in 2003 and $110,210 in 2004.
21. Not hiring a custodial sub for one-day absences would save $3,000 in 2003 and $6,000 in 2004.
22. Not hiring instructional assistant subs would save $7,500 in 2003 and $12,000 in 2004.
23. Reducing custodial overtime pay could save $3,000 in 2003 and $5,000 in 2004.