VIGO COUNTY, Ind – At Monday nights Vigo County School Board meeting Superintendent Rob Haworth told the board and those in attendance that the corporations finances needed attention to fix a growing problem.
The corporation’s cash balance is declining significantly and is expected to drop by as much as $8 million this year.
To fix the problem Superintendent Haworth is proposing a combination of $4 million in budget cuts and a property tax increase through an operating referendum of $7 million. That referendum could be placed on the ballot this fall but it would require board approval.
The reasons for the cash balance decline include decreased state funding, inflation, decreased federal funding and enrollment declines.
When those students go somewhere is, their state funding goes with them.
To battle the decline in enrollment Haworth proposes a virtual school based at Booker T. Washington school. 357 Vigo County students are currently attending virtual schools. At just over $6,000 per student, the corporation is losing over $2 million annually in funding.
The general fund also is being used to subsidize the tax cap impact on transportation, which was about $1 million in 2018.
Over $2 million has been used to subsidize textbook rental fees over the past five years.
There has been increased spending on school safety with more security officers. The corporation is also spending on health and wellness with more nurses and counselors.
The budget cuts are being phased in now. Cuts could include restructuring buildings, reducing staff through attrition, wage freezes, buyouts, restructuring of staff compensation and a reduction in transportation services.
If the $7 million operating referendum would pass, it would mean an increase of just over 16 cents on the tax rate for 8 years.
If your house has a gross value of $100,000 you would pay an additional $53 per year.