McGinnis reviewed this year’s working budget with Board of Education members last week and mentioned his frequent complaint that the state does not give school districts enough money to cover the cost of mandated salary increases. Each year, school districts collect taxes locally and must return more than 65 percent of that to the state. The money they get back is known as SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) money. McGinnis said that this year’s mandated salary increases will cost the Trigg school district more than $700,000, but that the SEEK forecast had only increased by $531,000 over the previous year.
“We need the General Assembly to go above and beyond the mandates,” McGinnis said.
McGinnis said that District Finance Officer Linda Tribble did a “tremendous job” with the board’s investments. He said, though, that the district’s expenditures had exceeded revenue by $50,000, so the district had to dip into its contingency fund. He said that the district had about $14 million in unmet needs, which is about $460,000 less than the total 2007-2008 general fund’s working budget. Normally, the district attempts to replace an average of two-and-a-half buses per year, but McGinnis said they would only be replacing one this year.
McGinnis also said that the district had been fortunate because some school districts had been forced to fire employees to save money, but said Trigg County had not done that. He said he wasn’t saying they would not be “in that boat in the future,” but that he was glad the district had able to maintain its staff up until now. He also noted that splitting the elementary school into two schools had cost the board in additional staff and the principal’s salary, but said that teachers had attributed much of their success in meeting No Child Left Behind requirements to splitting the schools and removing the fifth grade from the middle school.
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