School system begins year on sound footing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2004

The numbers looked good at the Butler County Board of Education’s budget hearing held Thursday night.

The meeting allowed the board to get an early look at the funds available for the new school year and how what carried over from the previous term.

The result showed extra funds, putting the board in excellent shape to catch up on things such as textbook purchases and employee maintenance.

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Superintendent Mike Reed opened the meeting with good news.

&uot;This is the first time in the last five years we haven’t had to make any kinds of cuts in personnel,&uot; said Reed. &uot;That was a relief in budgeting.&uot;

Reed also said there was a great deal of carryover from last year.

&uot;We had a couple of hundred thousand dollars left over,&uot; said Reed. &uot;We were a year behind in purchasing textbooks. That will allow us to catch up.&uot;

Custodian of Funds Sherry Bennett led the board through the budget item by item.

Bennett said their findings left a lot of possibilities. She also said there were more funds available than had been in past years.

&uot;Last year we did not get technology, library enhancement, professional development and we only got $25,000 for textbooks,&uot; said Bennett. &uot;This year we will get $203,000.&uot;

Bennett had more good news in the foundation program. The foundation program is a combination of state and local funds. This area also found a surplus.

&uot;In the foundation program we covered all of our teachers and support people,&uot; said Bennett. &uot;All bookkeepers and central office support. We still had $203,000 that was not obligated. It was $203,334 to be exact.&uot;

Bennett said these funds could also be used to help solve the problem of being behind on textbook purchases.

&uot;We could take these funds and buy math books for this year,&uot; said Bennett. &uot;We would be caught up and wouldn’t be a year behind. This way we would be able to pay for them and still be able to meet next year’s adoption.&uot;

As Reed had said earlier, the positive news from the budget had allowed for no cutbacks. This was especially good news for the transportation department.

&uot;We are rehiring all the bus drivers we had last year,&uot; said Bennett. &uot;We figured the budget before we decided. It worked out.&uot;

More big news came in the capital purchase summary. Those who worked to put the budget together found funding in this area that could help pay off other bills.

&uot;Capital purchase is our outgoing money,&uot; said Bennett. &uot;We leveraged funds which we use for bond issues. We have to obligate $300,000, but that still leaves $398,625. We have figured in the budget to use that for debt service. That frees up our local money.&uot;

Bennett said a lot of labor went into putting the budget together.

&uot;We all worked really hard,&uot; said Bennett. &uot;We really worked hard the last few weeks. Everyone was very cooperative.&uot;

Bennett will present the budget again next Thursday at 6 p.m. The board’s regular August meeting will follow at 7 p.m.