City board approves working budget
by Nola Sizemore Staff Writer
Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent C.D. Morton said cuts made earlier in the spring “helped with the balancing of the district’s 2013-2014 working budget.”
During a special called meeting of the board of education on Monday, Morton listed changes from the district’s tentative budget, adding “it’s getting tougher and tougher with less and less state and federal funding.”
“Looking at the general fund, the expected revenue for the year will be basically $4.6 million,” said Morton. “One of the deficits we will have is SEEK funds from the previous year of about $130,000. That’s a pretty significant change. Those were to some degree expected and planned for. Had the board not taken the action they took last spring with positions, it would have been very difficult to put together a budget that would balance without touching contingency (funds).”
Morton said his hope is there “will be no major catastrophes or major unknowns such as unexpected bills or settlements that would offset the budget.”
“I believe this budget is lean and efficient,” said Morton. “We do have some room in there should something change where we can make minor adjustments in several places, but Mr. (David) Johnson was more than gracious to come and help me work through this and get it to the point it is balanced.”
Morton recommended, if at the end of the school year there are excess funds, funds be restored back to the contingency fund.
“One of things I want everybody to understand is we have to have a 2 percent contingency,” said Morton. “A 2 percent contingency keeps the district rolling for two weeks - that’s it. If things were to get tough and you had to rely on your contingency, you can rely on it for two weeks and then it’s gone. Our contingency puts us in a position where we can last a little longer than a couple of weeks, but anytime we have the opportunity to address that and restore some of those funds, I think we’d be wise to do that, as well as look at positions and needs across the district for our students.”
Morton complimented the board on “doing the best they possibly could do with the dollars they have had in the past to try and run an efficient school district.”
“It’s getting tougher when the state and federal dollars are getting smaller,” said Morton. “We have to continue to be tight and be efficient and do the very best we can with what we have and be frugal.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the 2013-2014 working budget.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org
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