March 7, 2002

School Board Approves $120,000 Budget Cut In 2002-2003

Facing continued declining revenue flows the Scotland County R-I School Board voted 7-0 during the February 28 board meeting to authorize the reduction of the 2002-2003 school budget by as much as $120,000 if additional funding is not forthcoming.

The preliminary budget cutting process was approved after the board of education concurred with the increasing number of reports that additional funding for education is not likely at the state level.

The latest information schools have received from legislative reports and organizations such as the Missouri School Board Association is there is a strong possibility that no new funding for education will become available and in several categories the schools will actually receive less money this year than last.

"The most critical issue facing schools today is the lack of monies from the state of Missouri to adequately pay for the cost to educate our youth," said Superintendent LeRoy Huff. To fully fund the current formula it will take $220 million new dollars in state revenue, which everyone in Jefferson City agrees, is not economically feasible."

This year the district saw a slight decline in funding from the foundation formula from $1,335,585 in 2000-2001 to $1,326,339. The loss of less than $10,000 was due to the decrease of the local levy from $3.06 to $3.0083.

"Next year the best-case scenario is that we will draw no more than $1,217,294 through the formula," Huff told the board. "This is a reduction of $118,291 from fiscal year 2000-2001."

Huff further darkened the picture when he told the board this is the final year the district foundation formula would be calculated using the 706.43 eligible pupil figure. Because of severely declining enrollment at SCR-I next year's foundation formula will recognize only 665.43 eligible pupils.

This funding decline will be further elevated when the next two-year funding formula starts in 2003-2004 as the district has seen a further reduction in enrollment from the lower figure, dropping an additional 56 students.

"Our actual eligible pupil count will not be known until school has concluded and summer school is complete for this fiscal year which ends June 30," Huff stated. "However, we know the trend continues to be downward."

The declining economic picture might receive local aid when voters will decide the fate of a proposed Proposition C waiver for the district at the April 2 election. If approved the waiver would give the school board the power to waive a portion, or all of the Proposition C sales tax roll back mandated by the state when the law was approved.

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