The Franklin County School Board has voted not to pursue closing an elementary school as a cost saving measure next fiscal year.
That decision came at their monthly meeting Monday, according to School Superintendent Dr. Ruth Odell.
“The decision points were coming up as far as needing to do hearings, if they wanted to move forward,” Odell said. “So, some of the board members felt it wasn’t enough to justify the disruption. Others on the board wanted to move forward because of our financial situation.”
Had the board decided to move ahead with closing a school in fiscal 2014, Dr. Odell said it would have saved the school system millions over the long term.
Odell said this fiscal year, the school system is running about a half-million dollars short, even with the two mil increase the board voted for last year.
Next year, she said, the same deficit will be there with no more funding increases from the state or federal government.
Additionally, Odell said the school system has exhausted its reserve of federal funding – all while looking at increased healthcare costs for workers and other increases in personnel costs.
“The decrease in revenue and the increase in healthcare costs is going to cost us another $500,000. So really, looking at FY14, potentially, we will have a million dollar deficit coming up in the FY14 budget,” Odell said.
Dr. Odell said if a school is not closed, the only other options are to raise the school millage yet again and/or make more cuts in personnel and staff.