HOWARD — “We will be out of money by the end of the 2011-12 school year,” East Knox superintendent Matt Caputo said at Wednesday’s school board meeting.
“Keep in mind that we have made drastic [budget] cuts. Over the past two years we have cut well over $1 million out of the budget, and we will need to look at additional budget reduction measures. ... We have been told to expect a 10 percent reduction in state funding. Regardless, the economic uncertainty remains that we cannot continue to operate without making sacrifices, reducing expenses and increasing revenues. The general fund cash balance will be depleted at the conclusion of the 2011-12 school year. In other words, we will be out of money.”
Tresurer Jessi Busenburg said expenses in October were $35,000 over revenues. A financial analysis done by the Ohio Department of Education confirmed her prediction that the district will be out of money by June 2012. Busenburg said the district will have to submit a plan regarding its deficit spending, as ODE recommends a budget carry over from year to year equal to at least one month’s worth of expenses.
Fiscal caution by the state is triggered when a district has a deficit that is less than 2 percent of the prior year’s general fund revenue. Fiscal caution means ODE will visit the district [again] and inspect its operations. It will provide technical assisitance and make recommendations on how to balance the budget.
Caputo said the economic times are difficult for everyone, and the district will work just like everyone else to maintain fiscal responsibility.
“We will continue to look at ways we can sacrifice,” he said. “The Ohio Department of Education reviewed the district’s staffing needs and determined East Knox is at or below the staffing levels recommended in order to serve the students appropriately in all areas. ... We will need to look at reducing expenses in all areas such as administration, extracurricular, food service, maintenance, transportation and non-mandatory programs. I will make recommendations based on careful consideration regarding students. Furthermore, we will need to look into additional revenue sources.”
Caputo said he will continue to hold community meetings to keep the community informed.
Brent Lasater of the Bladensburg Sertoma Club presented the district with a $900 check. The money will be used in conjunction with the club’s $1,000 donation last year to help with the elementary’s speech and hearing project. Elementary principal Genelle Eggerton said one classroom has already been outfitted with a sound field system which allows teachers to use a wireless microphone for sound amplification.