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School board facing $4 million shortfall in next year’s funds

The Lincoln County School District is facing a $4 million deficiency in funds for the 2013-2014 school year due to federal and state funding reductions.

In presenting the 2013-2014 school year budget to the Board of Trustees Monday evening, Cheryl Shelby, LCSD’s business manager, explained many areas are facing a budget shortfall because of a decrease in funding, primarily due to federal cuts from the 2013 Sequester.

For the 2013-2014 year, total revenue is expected to be $24,069,040.40 while total expenditures are projected to be $28,326,556.18, indicating a deficit for the year of more than $4 million.

The largest expenditure for the school year will fall under the Salaries and Fringe category, with 84 percent of total cost.

While federal funding reductions are largely responsible for the local shortfall, Terry Brister, LCSD superintendent, also pointed toward the state government as also shouldering some of the decrease in funds. He said some of the officials in Jackson are presenting the idea that education is not a good investment.

“The perception is that education is not doing its job,” Brister said. “That’s the perception they’re selling, and it’s working.”

He said most of the state legislature is looking at the state as a whole instead of individual districts. He believes Lincoln County is doing what they can with the resources they are given.

“I think we’re doing a decent job,” Brister said. “We could do better, we could always do better, but I think we’re doing a decent job.”

The board will meet June 27 at 5 p.m. to vote on the budget.

The board also approved the demolition of the West Lincoln Day Care asbestos removal and demolition. Brister stressed the necessity of both processes and said the school district did not have a choice.

There was some uncertainty about the bids presented, so approval is contingent upon clarification of whether the bids include total cost or just asbestos removal.

Coming in the fall, LCSD students will see a rise in the cost of student lunches from $2 to $2.25. The cause is due mostly to a decrease in student participation but also to an increase in food costs.

The board approved the disposal of several fixed assets and the salvage of Career Technical Educational equipment.

Reimbursement for overpayment of insurance premiums for those employees not returning for the following school year was also approved.

Brister said the school district as a whole is currently just working toward the new school year and preparing for students to return in the fall.