Spring is a very busy time and the end of this school year is about here. State Testing is a huge undertaking right now and we do appreciate your cooperation at home helping prepare your children for this endeavor. State Legislation is a tremendous concern at this point and finding out our funding situation for next year is very important for us moving forward.
Funding issues and cuts are a major concern for every school for the next several years. Indicators at this time point to worse times ahead. Currently we have lost $86,082.53 and are expecting more losses till June 30, 2016. Knowing what we will be cut for next year is anyone’s guess so I have to make a plan and follow through with it not know till the end if I was correct or not.
Gross Production (Oil and Gas) tax collections is the area that is hurting us the most. Last year we collected $304,505.50 and have collected $201,088.49 for this school year and were approved by the Excise Board a projected collection of $182,703.30. Since December of 2015 we started collecting half of what we were from July - November then this month April’s collection was 1/4th of the early months. So what does this mean and why do I care so much about Gross Production collections?
First this is a local money collection that is a Chargeable so it counts against us when the State Department of Education plugs in numbers for the State Funding Formula and the money we will be Allocated next year. We want to be as less dependant on State Aid as we possibly can but these numbers as well as Vehicle Tax (Tags) and REA (Rural Electric) fluctuate each year and have an impact on State Aid that each school receives. So in times like this when we receive less Gross Production monies (Local Monies) then you expect to Receive more from State Aid the following year. The bad news here is, State Funding is down so what kind of an effect will this have on us for next year is what we need to know ASAP. Many of the schools are in this same position and will rely more on State Aid next year and the money simply will not be there to cushion this decrease. This is the scariest and least talked about situation at the State Department at this time, even with my prompting. We need to find out how bad this shift back to State Aid will cost, not just us but all schools.
The second reason is that this decrease in Local Collections will continue into next school year and have an impact on Mid Term Adjustments. We were to receive an additional $21,000 this year but received a cut and this mess was just starting. I have tried very hard to not panic and figure out ways to continue the services that we now have but am finding it tougher to come up with answers and exact numbers to prepare for next year. At present time I am expecting a cut that could range from $187,950.86 to $244,633.18. This is a lot of money and the worst part of it is it will affect everyone one way or another.
We have improved our schools over the last several years by adding classes or programs and in some cases it took additional personnel to do this and of course is an extra expense. We have teachers that have gone above and beyond to spend their time with academic activities that our Students enjoy and learn from real life hands activities that provide competition as well as Trial and Error Learning. When our faculty does these things that are not required for our students to graduate they should be provided with additional salary, just to say thank you. When Mandates are given to schools like Testing, Evaluation Systems this requires extra work to be done their way and again takes more faculty which is a greater cost or just more time spent by faculty. These two examples of what our Faculty does for our Students is why we as a Community must demand that we want our schools funding adequately. I wholeheartedly feel that we are not wasteful with our money and that we are very diligent in how we elect to spend our money.
I feel that our Community wants the best for our Students, bottom line. So how can we without the funding that we need to continue programs that our Students prove are beneficial and enjoyable that will help prepare them for the future?
I want you to know that we are not trying to make anyone mad with the decisions that we have to make so we can be financially sound. And know that your help is vital during these times of Financial Change and Challenge.