2010-05-13 / Opinions

BOE needs to address issues

TO THE EDITOR

There are several items and issues that, in my opinion, the Board of Education should be considering in the current budgeting planning cycle that are not yet evident in their public deliberations. They are:

.. The reported probability of additional state budget reductions midterm this next fiscal year and/or the following year.

.. The expiration of federal stimulus funds.

.. A declining county property tax digest.

.. Additional operating and maintenance costs for the new high school facility in addition to the old facilities.

.. The emerging gap between SPLOST funds available for bond payments and the increasing payment amounts required.

.. The projections of declining student enrollment.

.. Possible repayment of funds to the state for the issue with the new high school, and

.. Maintenance and renovation costs on the old facilities for the middle school and unused space.

I don’t believe many of these items have yet been evaluated in the board’s discussions during the current budget planning cycle. How can we have confidence that the board is considering and planning for such issues? It would be helpful for the board to discuss these items as a part of the current planning process and indicate how they expect to deal with them.

I see this as a critical time for the board to act, and not just put things off for six months, one year, or two years when it’s too late to do anything but raise taxes and let the board at that time deal with it.

Why not consider:

.. Making reductions beyond those imposed by the state at this time

.. Reducing administrative and other non-teaching positions

.. Reducing the inventory of old and unused facilities, and

.. Avoiding expenditures on some items related to use of the new facilities and apply the funds to additional bond payments, etc.

In The Lincoln Journal of May 5, reporting on the recent District 3 meeting, it is said that Mr. Williford, BOE member, discussed the budget and what is being done to control costs. I’d like to know what he thinks the board is doing to control costs beyond the required cuts in state funding. I haven’t heard anything mentioned about how to deal with the rest of the issues I listed above. I am concerned that the board intends to raise local taxes as a blanket response to all of the rest of their fiscal issues and I urge the board to consider other alternatives.

J B MATHEWS

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