BAINBRIDGE -- With the 2012-13 school year under way for just over a month, the North Putnam School Board received a disappointing announcement for the second consecutive meeting on Thursday.
Last month, it was a large insurance hike. This month, it was enrollment.
"I don't have great news and I apologize for that," superintendent Dan Noel said. "It's down 75, and that is a concern for us."
Corporation-wide enrollment is down 5 percent from last year, from 1,638 students to 1,564.
Many of the county schools have seen drops in student population from last year, though North Putnam seems to have been hit the hardest.
As public school budgets are determined largely by enrollment, the budget presented on Thursday will have to be modified.
"It's a trend across the state," Noel said. "It's a trend that's going on, not just here, but a lot of school corporations."
The majority of a school budget goes to salaries, and because the teachers have two years remaining on their current contract, the majority of budget cuts will have to be in other areas.
"We have to be extremely careful with what we do," Noel said.
Searching for a potential source of more income, the board agreed to purchase an Adobe software package that will allow it to, among other things, print 42-inch wide posters.
The package will be available to all students K-12 and is a one-time purchase, unlike many software upgrades that require annual licenses.
Students will be able to take page design courses, and the end result could potentially be profitable posters or banners.
The board received other positive financial news as well.
After paying a $5,500 gas bill to Roachdale last month, the school was given a $5,100 rebate after it was discovered that the meter had been read incorrectly.
The bill was still significantly higher than the July gas bill normally is, do largely to a malfunctioning heater in the swimming pool.