Officials trimming budget

ELKINS – The Randolph County Board of Education discussed a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year Tuesday that features more than $500,000 in cuts in order to avoid another deficit situation.

Brad Smith, chief financial officer, presented the proposed budget to the BOE for their discussion and consideration. He said the proposed budget is balanced, but also features major cuts to try to make up for the $900,000 deficit the BOE reported last September in its financial statement for the 2012-2013 school year.

Smith said the proposed budget includes $544,250 in cuts, with the intention of putting those funds toward the deficit. He said that, if all went well, the deficit would be cut by more than half by next year at this time.

Smith proposed $350,000 in professional personnel cuts, $90,000 in service personnel cuts and $20,000 in uniform cuts for staff.

In addition to the cuts in the proposed budget, Smith asked the BOE to consider cutting in several other areas, including eliminating or reducing after-hours use of facilities, only performing emergency repairs for maintenance, eliminating overtime and limiting total extracurricular trips per year.

One suggestion discussed was, since uniforms for staff members had been paid for by the school system previously, giving staff members the option of paying for the uniforms out of their paychecks, but still allowing the school system to wash and maintain them. Smith said the savings could go to other places, including toward diesel and gasoline costs.

“One area where we have seen a significant increase is in fuel costs,” Smith said. “Total fuel costs have nearly doubled since 2009. And total energy costs have increased by nearly $40,000 since 2009, as well.”

“We are proposing this to the board for its approval,” Superintendant Terry George said. “We are open to suggestions and want to do what we can to work with the board and balance the budget.”

Board members have until May 21 to make any revisions or edits before adopting the proposed budget, pending state approval.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting:

– The BOE voted unanimously to approve the levy rates for the upcoming fiscal year. Brad Smith, director of finance for Randolph County Schools, said the rates will decrease by one percent from the current year’s rates.

– Chris Hamrick, a Tygarts Valley High School teacher, presented the results of a local survey he conducted regarding the excess levy.

Hamrick surveyed the parents and guardians, students, teachers and staff to gauge their opinion of levy spending and its impact on education in Randolph County.

The survey also asked whether the respondents would approve of another education levy.

The survey results showed mostly favorable opinions toward a new levy, as well as toward the management of funds from the current levy, Hamrick said.

“This is not a scientific study,” George said. “But I think it gives us an idea of the general support for how the levy has been received, and it appears the majority of those polled appreciated what the levy allowed individual schools to do for Randolph County’s students. I want to congratulate Mr. Hamrick on his hard work in preparing this survey.”

Contact Chad Clem by email at