By JOSIE WATSON
The Powell County Board of Education held a special meeting on Mon., March 20.
The first thing board members did was approve a date for Powell County High School graduation. After input from PCHS Principal Doug Brewer, the board voted to approve Sunday, May 14 as the official date for the PCHS Senior Graduation.
Next, the board started their work session for the 2017-2018 budget.
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is cutting a total of $269,726 from the district. This number comes from a $158,258 cut to the Capital Funds Request, as well as $111,468 cut from SEEK due to a projected lower enrollment. KDE is also projecting a state-wide cut next year to Special Education of around $60,000 due to a bigger than projected need.
The board will also need to possibly budget for a bigger Emergency Fund for the upcoming year. KDE requires a minimum of two percent in contingency, but would like upwards of four to six percent or enough to run an entire month of school. Currently, Powell County has 3.63 percent ($269,671) in contingency. If contingency drops below two percent, the state will then become involved.
An increase in payments is also going to put a strain on the budget. Student insurance will take a hike for the upcoming year, as well as the increase on property insurance from this past year.
The board is also seeing an increase of need for Special Education resources, as well as basic necessities such as supplies, transportation fuel, and repairs.
As always during budget negotiations, the possibility of cuts and changes were also discussed. The suggestion of moving Alternative Education to PCHS caused some concern with the board. Multiple board members were not in favor of this suggestion as they saw it as not only a safety concern, but also making it seem like not as much of a deterrent.
After hearing the concerns of other board members about some of the suggested cuts, Superintendent Michael Tate stated, “It’s not like we want to cut, cut, cut, but we have to keep the budget in perspective.”
Currently, the 2017-2018 tentative budget is over by $381,915.62. The budget must be completely balanced by May 1. The next budget meeting is scheduled to be held on April 17.