Knox Community School Corporation Finances Stable, According to School Officials

The Knox Community School Corporation is reporting financial stability, despite a few challenges.

Treasurer Kasey Clark told the board of finance Tuesday that the school corporation earned more than $165,000 in interest in 2019. Almost two-thirds came from the corporation’s checking account, while most of the rest came from its certificate of deposit.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart reported a significant growth in the balance of the former General Fund. “We see from 2015, we were pretty close to being in the negative, only $639,000, and we have grown that General Fund balance to $2,037,000 in those period of years,” Reichhart explained. “So we are doing a good job with getting our cash balances back where they need to be, and we haven’t touched the Rainy Day Fund.”

But enrollment, which helps determine that funding, dropped by 7.1 percent between 2012 and 2019. However, Reichhart did point out that other local school corporations fared worse. Oregon-Davis saw an enrollment drop of 19 percent, and North Judson-San Pierre’s enrollment dropped by 23.7 percent, over the same time period. “So you can see, as a whole, in Starke County, that we have less students going to school,” Reichhart said. “But I also believe that, when you look at how Knox is compared to the other public school districts in Starke County, we are in still pretty good shape, and that helps our finances, as well.”

Meanwhile, the balance of the Knox Community School Corporation’s non-General Fund money dropped by almost $740,000 from 2017 to 2018. Reichhart blamed part of that on a buyout of teacher sick days. “That was a $250,000 hit, but that removed us from that liability in the future, so that accounts for $250,000,” he said. “We also had our treasurer at the time, in 2018, not seek out the Title I Grant reimbursements until the following year, when we had the new treasurer in place. So if we would’ve got our Title I funds that were there, we would’ve seen more monies in this particular fund.”

He also blamed the sick day buyout for an apparent deficit in 2018. Fiscal indicators for Knox or any other school corporation may be viewed on the Indiana Distressed Unit Appeal Board’s website.