Fortunately, Clay Community School Corporation is prepared for the possible 2.7-4.6 percent taken from the general fund for the 2010 budget.
"The governor has indicated that schools should be able to make cuts without a reduction in force to classroom teachers," Supt. Dan Schroeder said. "We don't think we will have to lay off anyone for the 2010-11 school year, unless there are future unforeseen cuts."
"Currently we are waiting on more details from the state," Business Manager Mike Fowler added.
According to Fowler, the corporation has been monetarily practical the last 3.5 years, which gives them a little more wiggle room.
"We want the community to know that because we were fiscally prudent that we have a cash balance, which we can use so we do not have to lay off individuals," Schroeder said. "This time period will allow us to keep track of incoming revenue compared to outgoing expense."
"This gives us the ability to study how to move forward instead of reacting," Fowler added. "We have 18 months to study. There is the possibility of changing the salary or benefit structure to help avoid depleting positions."
The general fund is used primarily for employee salaries and benefits.
"Approximately 95 percent of the general fund is used for salary and fringe benefits," Fowler said. "So the possible 4.6 percent cut is almost equal to everything else that is in the general fund."
Though no cuts in personnel are planned, both Schroeder and Fowler believe that option would be examined later if the state makes more budget cuts to education in the future.
"If cuts to the budget continue beyond the 2010-11 school year for (CCSC) it will be very difficult to not cut personnel," Schroeder said. "It is difficult economic times and schools across the state are being asked to cut expenses. We want the community to know it is because of the state budget and not problems caused by the corporation."
Both men agreed the building project would not be affected by the cuts in the general fund because the project is being paid for from Debt Service.
"To our knowledge Debt Service is not going to be cut," Schroeder said. "All bonds and financing was arranged prior to any budget cuts by the state."
"Whether or not we did this building project would have no impact on future personnel decreases," Fowler added.
The future of a bus garage is still to be decided by the Clay Community School Board of Trustees.
"In my 23 years as an administrator, these are the most difficult financial conditions the schools have experienced," Schroeder said.
"The cuts are being made because of current economic conditions and we hope the local, state and national economy will pick up to provide more revenue to the schools in the future."
The Indiana State Board of Education met Dec. 17 in an attempt to fulfill Gov. Daniels K-12 budget reductions. After deliberations, a "Citizens' Checklist" of cost-saving measures was created for each school corporation, school board and school community, which is up for adoption at its Jan. 8 meeting.
Cost-saving recommendations in the checklist will include, but are not limited to, the following:
* Examine school corporation insurance plans, including a cost-benefit analysis of joining the State of Indiana employee health plan,
* Guarantees all school employees contribute equally and equitably to insurance plans,
* Limiting of school board members' benefits,
* Sharing of services between school corporations,
* Closure of underutilized buildings and sale of unused buildings,
* Reduction or elimination of travel expenses, association dues and fees,
* Freeze on hiring administrative personnel, and
* Freezing salaries statewide for all school corporation employees.