Attorney, DLGR agree county council will review GCSC budget
The murky waters created by a new state law have cleared slightly for the Greencastle Community School Board.
The 2013 Greencastle Community Schools budget will be reviewed by the Putnam County Council, not the Greencastle City Council.
Having researched the origins of the school system, corporation attorney Bob Rund reached this opinion last month. He turned his findings over to the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), which reached the same conclusion.
Now the discussion has moved to exactly what role the county council will take in budget review. Superintendent Lori Richmond met with the council at its monthly meeting Tuesday to discuss the process.
"There are lots of questions. There aren't many answers," council president Darrell Thomas said.
"I appreciate your willingness to jump in the pool with us. It's a new law for all of us," Richmond said. "It wasn't the school's choice of which (council would review the budget). It was the Department of Local Government Finance.
"After lots of research, it came out that the Greencastle Community School Corporation was officially formed as a school corporation in 1964," Richmond added.
The current school corporation was the product of the 1964 reorganization plan for the Putnam County Schools that formed the four school corporations still in place in the county.
Greencastle Community School Corporation was the consolidation of Madison Township Schools and Greencastle Consolidated Schools. The earlier Greencastle consolidation came when the city schools merged with the township schools.
Richmond explained to the council that the general funds of public schools now come from the state, with a direct correlation to the number of students enrolled.
The major budget responsibilities at the local level, Richmond said, relate to two funds: capital projects and bus replacement.
As the fiscal body now technically in charge of the school's budget, the Putnam County Council will be a part of the school's formal budget hearing, set for 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 31 at the school's central office.
Besides this, it is the school's responsibility to submit its budget to the county council by Sept. 1.
Council review of the GCSC budget will then become part of the council's budget hearings, set for Sept. 10 and 11.
Asked by council members, Richmond said she did not believe the council has any further fiscal responsibility to the school throughout the year, just budget review each fall.
Worries about being responsible for a budget they don't fully understand still weigh on the councilors.
"Other than she's going to let us look at her budget, we don't know what questions to ask, what to look for, what red flags might be," Thomas said.