School Budget Shock Already

Published 4:21 pm Thursday, November 17, 2011

CUMBERLAND – Although Cumberland County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Amy Griffin, provided somewhat shocking news related to the upcoming 2012-2013 school budget during the School Board meeting this week, she ended the announcement by telling Board members that it's still too soon in the budget process to panic.

But that doesn't change the fact that it still might mean the school division could have to find approximately $1.2 million in additional funding just to keep things stable and to continue operating at the current level in the upcoming fiscal year, according to Dr. Griffin.

Perspective, she said.

Dr. Griffin provided the new numbers to the Board members as perspective due to the upcoming community outreach meetings being scheduled for the end of the month.

“I do want to put some things in perspective though,” suggested Dr. Griffin to the Board members.

As of right now, things usually change with the Governor's proposed budget and the General Assembly, but Cumberland is proposed a VRS rate increase from 11.33 percent to 21.77 percent.

“That would cost us an additional $741,000,” she offered.

She also noted that all of the Federal money that has been received through the stimulus or Jobs initiative has run out-this current fiscal year is the last included with those stimulus dollars.

“Right now we have people funded with it which is a cost of $247,000,” she added.

On top of that, Cumberland's enrollment has not reached the projected 1,400 student number for the current year. Therefore the division could have to find the needed $150,000 to fund that current state line item.

The composite index has just also undergone a change, she continued, from 2.75 percent to 2.2971 percent.

“This is the formula which means the state will pay less and the locality pays more-it's a slight different but it's still not good,” she said. “Totaling all of that up, with the changes, we need $1,289,000 to operate as we are currently if all of those things happen.

“Hopefully, VRS will not have that much of an increase because that is what the big increase is but we'll have to see how things will pan out but we're still interested to see what people would like to see at the schools budget-wise but I'd like people to also realize when they come with their ideas to be realistic of what the budget is looking like right now…,” she explained.

Dr. Griffin added, “We still have a long ways to go with the budget so I did tell the Board not to panic right now. Don't panic yet. This is early in the game.”

The first anticipated state-funding numbers should come out right before Christmas, added the Superintendent, and when the school division returns after break at the end of the year in January budget work will start in full-force.

“But, we do still want to hear what they want to see in the schools,” she added about the upcoming community outreach meetings that are scheduled for three days throughout the county at the end of November and the beginning of December.