While superintendents are required by law to present draft budgets to school boards every year before Jan. 31, the draft budget is not approved or reviewed by the Kentucky Department of Education. McGinnis said that Kentucky Commissioner of Education Jon Droud had recently sent an e-mail to superintendents asking them to look at the possibility of a seven percent in the SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) funding. This would be about a $515,000 decrease for Trigg County, but he said that since the original e-mail, there was talk of a possible 12 percent cut instead.
For now, though, McGinnis said had no idea where they would stand with the SEEK funds. He said he would probably have a much better idea of what to expect after Gov. Steve Beshear outlined his budget plans on Jan. 29. He added that Sen. Ken Winters and Representatives Melvin Henley and John Tilley, who all represent Trigg County in the Kentucky legislature, had assured him personally that they were committed to protecting primary and secondary education.
McGinnis said that the 2007-2008 working budget shows that the district is in a deficit of $300,000 because of investments like splitting the elementary schools into two schools and creating the positions of two instructional supervisors. This had not alarmed him before talks of budget cuts because the district has kept a sound contingency fund, but he thought relief from state was needed. He said that KDE had sent a forecast of a $58,000 SEEK increase, but that it was probably worthless at this time. He said he preferred to not discuss details of the draft budget until he knew more of what to expect and would rather have a “general conversation” about the need to expand programs, rather than cut them. He said that any comments about budget specifics would be counterproductive until he knows for sure what his recommendations would be.
“I will admit that it’s kind of a pie-in-the-sky approach and these figures don’t represent much of anything,” McGinnis said.
Anna Gentry, a representative from Kem, Duiguid, & Associates, gave a report to the board on the district’s annual audit. She explained the contents of the audit, saying that she was presenting an unqualified opinion and that there was nothing unusual to be concerned about. She thanked the district finance officer, Linda Tribble, for making the firm’s job easy. She said that the firm was required to give a recommendation that the district should have someone to prepare a report similar to the one she had presented and another entity to audit those findings. She said this wasn’t a big deal and that most school boards did not do this because it wasn’t feasible to hire two firms every year for an audit.
Read more of Gentry's report in The Cadiz Record.