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PCS sees no major cuts

While Pike County Schools won’t have to make major cuts for the 2010 budget year, the system might have to make cuts to personnel and programs come 2011.

According to PCS Superintendent Mark Bazzell, the system had about $3.2 million in reserves at the end of the 2008 fiscal budget, which ended Sept. 31, 2008.

But after the losses from proration in FY2009, Bazzell said the system is looking to start its 2010 budget off with about $2.2 million.

The school system used some of its reserve funds to offset the funding taken away by proration.

Originally, proration had been set at 12.5 percent, but Gov. Bob Riley reduced it by 3.5 percent using half of the rainy day fund, meaning the system was to lose some $1.2 million from what it expected from state funding.

Bazzell said the board adjusted the budget some $585,000 because the system had over budgeted fuel costs, since the price of diesel decreased.

In July, Riley came back and added another 2 percent proration.

This is why the system’s reserves are expected to decrease to $2.2 million.

“We’re hoping to start the FY2010 budget at $2.2 million,” Bazzell said. “It’s unlikely we’ll end FY2010 with $2.2 million in reserves.”

Still, Bazzell said the purpose of the reserves is to mitigate impact on the county’s students. “You can ask any of our teachers if they have felt the impact of proration, and the answer would be ‘no,’” Bazzell said. “We’re a year away from making cuts,” Bazzell said. “For us to survive two years without cutting jobs is good.”

“We’re hearing at least 6 percent proration,” Bazzell said.

Still Bazzell said even if the economy starts to grow it will take a will take a long time to replenish the reserves. According to Bazzell, the state budget will be at least 24 percent less than the beginning of FY09, if the state is hit with 6 percent proration.

For FY2010, the state budget is expected to comprise a little more than $13 million, while federal, local and other sources will comprise an estimated $11 million of the school system’s budget. While, the state budget is less, the actual school budget will be larger due to stimulus money.

“Keep in mind that money won’t be there next year,” Bazzell said.

Sales tax is also down 5.8 percent.

“We’re hoping September is a good one,” Bazzell said. “A couple of weekends of football could make a difference.”