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WCSD budget shrinks, district calls cuts “untenable”

Jun 16th, 2011 | 0

By ASHLEY AMASON

Chief Financial Officer Jim McCall presented Walton County School District’s (WCSD) 2011-2012 projected budget at the Walton County School Board workshop June 7. The upcoming budget is $17.7 million less than the previous year’s budget.

The required local millage decreased by .156 mills from the 2010-2011 millage rate, in addition to a 3.8 percent decline in the “taxable value,” according to Walton County Property Appraiser Patrick Pilcher. Therefore the estimated fund balance for the end of fiscal year 2012 is $2,611,119, resulting in a 4.6 percent fund balance which surpasses the state requirement of 3 percent.

However, McCall expressed to the board, “The bad news is the beginning fund balance is $5, 928,000. The fund balance will have dropped a little over $3 million dollars, [and that] will be a concern next year.”  With the loss of state and federal stimulus dollars, the district will use $3 million of its fund balance to meet expenditures for the 2011-2012 school year, and will not have the financial flexibility with next year’s fund balance to do so.

The estimated budget for 2011-2012 is $94.7 million, $64.2 million of which is in the general fund for salaries and benefits. The allocation falls short of last year’s general operating budget by $1.7 million, which could result in further cuts in an already “skeletal” workforce.

Ideas considered but not recommended include: teaching six or seven periods rather than five in middle and high schools, a four-day work week, reduce summer employment, salary reductions up to 5 percent, further reduce materials/supplies budget and supplements, employees pay a portion of their health insurance, district personnel cuts, revise utilities programming, suspend 80 percent of sick leave, reduce athletic programs, and eliminate all field trips. None of these cuts were recommended by the superintendent and most are viewed by the district as “untenable.”

Not factored in the projected budget is a request for each principal to cut one instructional position. McCall explained the cut is not a directive from the board and is being considered in the budget process with regard to class-size limitations.

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