West Central School Corporation Looking at Deep Cuts in the 2012 Budget

Charles Mellon

The West Central School Board members discussed the budget at their recent meeting.

“It’s just kind of frustrating when all we’re getting is estimates and we can’t really do a solid projection and yet we should be working on our 2012 budget at this time,” said Superintendent Charles Mellon. “When they talk about flatlining the budget, I think that flatline means that the State may be spending the same amount of money for the next three years in the K-12 education area, but that doesn’t mean that the schools are going to get the same. When I project ours, what we are getting cut this year, $322,000, it almost adds up to $1.3 million over a three year period.”

Mr. Mellon explains what is contributing to the shortfall.

“A lot of that is due to a small school grant being taken away, a restoration grant being taken away, and the ADM average. In the past, we had a five year ADM, or Average Daily Membership, meaning that if a small school has a fluctuation in the enrollment, that would not affect the budget that much. In the past couple of years, they have reduced that to a three year average and now they’re talking about taking that out altogether. If we would lose 20 students, rather that going into a five year average, we would also lose about a $6,000 value per student. Small school-wise, that’s quite a bit of money.”

The Board did discuss reductions in force, or RIF, possibilities.

“It would include the elimination of music and art at the elementary level, Family Consumer Science at the high school level and depending on numbers in our Kindergarten and whether or not the State still maintains our Full-Day Kindergarten grant, we may have to cut Kindergarten back to a half day. We are also looking at our special needs students and the numbers. We will try and service those kids the best we can and I hate to cut that program, but again, we’re losing $1.3 million and we have to plan for the worse and hope for something better.”