Graham said the district’s third quarter average enrollment, the measure by which state education funds are doled out, dropped by 42 students since last year, which will result in a $276,486 drop in revenue for the 2015-16 school year. Further complicating the matter, the district’s assessed value has dropped by $2.5 million, which Graham estimated will mean a further loss of $25-30,000 in funding compared to last year.
“I just want the board to be aware … there’s a $300,000 hit for the 15-16 school year,” Graham said. “That’s not a very happy superintendent’s report from my end, but I did want to put that out there so everyone would undertand the reality of what the reality is.”
Graham went on to explain the unprecedented nature of the decreases, telling the board that, in nine years as superintendent, he had only experienced two instances where enrollment didn’t grow and had never witnessed a drop in assessed value. He added that some changes in state law, including an unfunded mandate regarding the accomodation of dyslexic students, may necessarily increase expenditures, further complicating the school’s financial fortunes.
In unrelated business conducted during the meeting, the board quickly worked through a number of standard agenda items, approving an $85,768 bid on a new Blue Bird school bus, a resolution solidifying an existing agreement with Diamond Bank which allows the school’s bookkeeping staff to open and close accounts there and rehiring all certified and classified staff for the upcoming year.
They also accepted resignations from elementary teachers Cassie Kirby and Becky Floyd, the latter of which has served all 38 years of her teaching career with the district, and hired Andrea Woodruff as a special education instructor, Nick Evans as a high school teacher and coach, Cristal Perez as a migrant education assistant and Callie Parker as a primary teacher.