County BOE approves change to budget after BEP cut

Published 3:47 pm Friday, June 15, 2018

In a special called meeting on Thursday, members of the Carter County Board of Education made a needed adjustment to their proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year to account for a decrease in funding from the state.

Members of the Board previously approved the school system’s budget with the condition that the system would take up to $244,558 from their fund balance to cover a revenue shortfall. However, after the approval of the budget, school system officials learned the system’s Basic Education Program (BEP) allocation from the state had been cut by $5,000.

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“I hate that it came in lower,” Director of Schools Dr. Kevin Ward told the Board on Thursday, adding Carter County was not the only school system to see cuts in state funding. “Some other superintendents in some other school systems are coming back with $100,000 or more decrease. I feel we are fortunate with the $5,000.”

The state bases BEP funds on a formula that includes student enrollment for the school system. Ward said student enrollment in the system had dropped by 190 children.

“That significantly cut into our BEP,” he said. “The growth right now is in the city school systems. Most of your county and rural school systems are seeing declines.”

In 2002, the Carter County School System had an enrollment of over 6,200 children. Now, Ward said, the system is “just shy of 5,100.”

Ward said school system administrators worked with previous Finance Director Christa Byrd and current Finance Director Brad Burke to make cuts to the budget where they were able, but they were not able to absorb the total loss of funding.

“We went back to the table three or four times and went through this budget line item by line item,” Ward said. “There have been a lot of decreases in the budget to get it to this point.”

The estimated revenue for the upcoming fiscal year is $40,951,282.15 while the expenditures are budgeted at $41,200,840.47. That leaves the funding shortfall at $249,558.32.

“This is the first time I have made a recommendation that we take it from fund balance,” Ward said.

Further cuts to expenditures could impact things such as student health with cuts to the school nurse program or safety through reductions to funding for school resource officers.

“There are no easy decisions when you start looking at where you are going to cut,” Ward said. “None of us wants to sit here and have the discussion about cutting SROs after we just got the funding for the 15th one.”

Board member Tony Garland made a motion to take an additional $5,000 from the fund balance to cover the cut in BEP funding. Board member LaDonna Stout Boone provided the second for the motion, which passed unanimously on a vote.