Sales taxes not taking big hit on school systems

Published 8:34 pm Saturday, March 14, 2009

Local school systems have undoubtedly had their share of hardships this year.

With proration taking a big chunk of both Pike County and Troy City Schools’ state funding, school boards already have had to make cuts and amend budgets to spend less this school year.

But, school systems can take some consolation, even if little, in the fact that local fund losses are minimal.

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While sales tax revenues have been down for both school systems, superintendents said the losses aren’t big enough to require any more budget cuts — at least not now.

Since the budget started in October, Troy City Schools has seen a drop of around $63,000 in sales tax collections compared to the same time last year. Pike County has seen around $52,000 in losses.

And, it’s the first time either school system has seen any decrease at all in local sales tax collections.

“I don’t recall us ever having an issue where sales tax collections went down,” said Pike County Schools Superintendent Mark Bazzell. “It may have leveled out before but not dropped.”

Because both districts already made cuts to accommodate losses in state funding, Bazzell and Troy City Schools Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith said they are optimistic to make it through the rest of the year with no additional changes.

Some of what has already been cut includes extra travel, supplies and freezing some open positions, at a cost of $580,000 to Pike County and $100,000 excluding reserve funds for Troy.

Big hits in sales tax have come each month for local school systems, but Felton-Smith said February collections were among the best for the year so far.

At the end of the budget year, superintendents said they will have a chance to reevaluate these figures and make amendments if necessary once again.