Alcorn County maps strategy for further budget cuts

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Additional cost-cutting measures will be required in the Alcorn County School District to prepare for a projected 15 percent cut in its 2010-2011 state funding.
At Tuesday’s regular school board meeting, district business manager Angi Wilhite summarized steps the district has already taken to reduce expenditures and further actions the district could take to increase savings.
So far this year the district has already weathered $1,514,059 in cuts from its allocated full funding of $18,430,101, Wilhite said, leaving the district with $16,916,052 for operations.
Starting with the same allocation for the next budget year, the district will need to eliminate $2,764,515 to accommodate the anticipated 15 percent funding cut, leaving $15,665,586 for 2010-2011 operations, she said.
“The board asked me at their last board meeting where we are and where we’ve come from to make such huge cuts,” Wilhite said.
In the 2008-2009 fiscal year the district was able to save on maintenance, administration and school operating costs, while at the same time the district’s ad valorem tax collections were more than $1 million higher than the previous year.
So far through February, ad valorem tax collections continue the trend of being higher than the previous year, and Wilhite projects possible additional collections of $300,000.
Other savings might be achieved through faculty retirements and personnel changes, reducing the cost per student and reducing supply and technology expenditures, for savings totaling $758,879.
The five-day teacher furlough proposal that is being considered in the state Legislature could result in an additional savings of $341,290, bringing the total savings in these categories to $1,400,169.
“What I presented is what we can do without really rocking the boat much,” Wilhite said. “At the next meeting I’ll talk about where we might need to make deeper cuts.