As the Greencastle Community School Corporation continues to look for ways to trim its budget for the 2009-10 school year, word has come that there are even problems with last year's budget.
The corporation finally received the last of its 2008 funds from the county, but due to the late disbursement GCSC did not know the final figure until now. Superintendent Robert Green reported at Wednesday's school board meeting that the tax received for 2008 fell $336,964.67 short of the original budget.
"Here we are in March, and 2008 was over about 70, 80 days ago," Green said. "We've got to figure out, now that 2008 is over, how to make up for that lost revenue, and we were already in the red on our 2008 budget."
Of the shortfall, the biggest portion was in the general fund, which fell $175,570.82 of the budgeted figure.
"It's very hard for a superintendent to manage a budget like we had to in 2008," he added. "It's very frustrating, but we're going to do our best to provide a quality program for our students."
Dr. Green and the building principals continue to look for ways to cut costs in the 2009-10 budget. Cuts of $800,000 are needed.
Among cuts already made are DePauw Primary Reading ($4,000), Tiger Cubs remediation ($120,000), professional travel ($24,700), release of three custodians ($89,300), no summer workers ($15,000) and a four-day summer work week ($15,000).
Other possible cuts could include a reduction in force (RIF) by as many as eight teachers in the corporation. If this is necessary, Green hopes to do so with as few layoffs as possible. One possibility remains the early retirement offer extended to eligible teachers in February.
RIFs may be necessary, though, so the board authorized Green to send RIF letters by April 1 if he and the treasurer deem it necessary.
"There's enough uncertainty that I want to be cautious in how we approach this. If we don't need to send them out, we won't," Green said. "Anywhere we can squeeze money, we're squeezing, without hurting students."
If RIF letters are sent out by April 1, the moves still have to be approved by the board by May 1 so that "official" letters may be sent.
Even then, there is still a possibility that those individuals could be rehired if the funds become available.
Green pointed out that in 2002, the corporation had to send out 12 or 13 letters, but rehired all but one of the teachers.
In another potential savings move, the high school requested and received approval for three sections of summer school this year, two in English and one in math. This number is down from five in 2008, due to the fact that the state only funded 67 percent of the program. The state was to provide 100 percent funding.
With the corporation exiting the Old National Trail cooperative in the summer of 2010, GCSC will need to be hiring a special needs director. Not only will this director oversee the special needs program after next school year, he or she will also oversee the transition from ONT back into the school system during the upcoming year.
The board approved the director's job description as well as a request to begin advertising the position.
In personnel matters, the biggest news was in the retirement of four faculty members, effective at the end of the school year. GHS business teacher Stan Ward, GHS guidance director Vicky Williams, Deer Meadow teacher Vicki Montgomery and GHS media specialist Margo Thomas will all be retiring at year's end.
"Words can't do justice to what they've meant to the education of children in Greencastle over the years," Green said.
The board also accepted the resignation of Glenn Hile as GHS girls' basketball coach, effective immediately.
The GCSC school board meets regularly at 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the Miller Education Center.