Dipping into its savings to make ends meet, Warren County School leaders are hoping the county will help out with fully funding the educational system this coming year.
“We’re not asking for a tax increase, just an 1.3 cent increase in the county option tax funding we get from the county,” said incoming Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “I think this can be done without increasing taxes.”
Cox told members of the school board that this year’s budget will be a “status quo budget” with no increases. Cox said the budget will be set at $11,571,878 just like last year for the county’s portion of the educational system.
Actually, Cox said there was a bit of good news since the local option tax which helps fund schools took in more money that was expected. The shortfalls during the recent recession years have left the school system dipping into its fund balance to meet its budget.
“You can only do that so many times before it’s all gone,” Cox said. “Next year could be a different story but this year it looks like we’ll be okay.”
Cox said the issue could really come into play next year due to state mandated raises for teachers. The raises will cost the local system about $300,000 next year and another $300,000 the year after.
“These are unfunded mandates,” Cox said, noting that while teachers deserve the raises, finding money to pay for those raises could be an issue which ultimately could lead to a cut in staffing.
As for the matter at hand, Cox said the budget for this upcoming year will be offered to the county education committee for consideration along with the request for the slight increase in the school’s option.