East Allen County Schools board members got their first glimpse of the 2012 budget Tuesday, and the forecast showed some challenging times ahead.
Based on initial estimates, EACS Business Manager Kirby Stahly said the district might need to adjust its priorities in its capital projects and bus replacement funds.
We definitely have funding issues, he said. Its not just unique to East Allen, but across the state.
Stahly predicted the districts $7.7 million capital projects fund could lose about $500,000 next year, in part because of statewide property tax caps, which limit homeowners bills to 1 percent of their properties assessed value.
The fund is used to pay utilities, renovate buildings and purchase technology and for other purposes. Stahly said the district might need to cut back on some capital projects.
He said changes in the bus replacement fund might also have an effect. While previously the district could draw from the fund as needed, in the future, the fund amount would be determined by a maximum levy set by the Department of Local Government Finance.
Stahly said the numbers were likely to change. A public hearing is set for Sept. 6, and the board will vote on the budget Oct. 4.
The board briefly discussed Superintendent Karyle Greens recommendation to alter the districts administrator salary schedule – a move she believes would make salaries more equitable and competitive.
Several board members said they would like to have an in-depth discussion about raising some salaries at a time when the district is facing financial challenges. The board indicated it could resume the discussion at its next board meeting.
The board spent several minutes discussing whether it was prepared to go entirely paperless and rely solely on computers during its board meetings. The board approved the purchase of iPads for board members – to be returned at the end of their term – as a cost-saving measure several months ago.
Board member Richard Allgeier said he wasnt ready to go paperless, and others expressed reservations as well. Board members agreed to set up training sessions in hopes of forgoing paper materials by early 2012.
The board elected new officers: Neil Reynolds, president; Terry Jo Lightfoot, vice president; and Alyssa Lewandowski, secretary.