Wood BOE gets look at 2014 budget

PARKERSBURG- Members of the Wood County Board of Education got their first look at the proposed 2014 budget during a workshop Monday evening.

The projected 2014 budget is for $112,152,344. That’s $400,000 less than the current budget.

Finance director Connie Roberts said the decrease is due to a number of factors and reductions in the state formula, including a $1.1 million decrease on basic state aid due to a decline in enrollment.

Superintendent Pat Law said county enrollment is down about 100 students compared to the start of the year. He’s expecting a 50-100 student decrease to start the 2014 school year.

The decline in the state aid formula includes a $668,812 decrease in allowance for professional educators.

According to Roberts, a little more than 65 percent of the county’s budget revenue comes from state funding. Slightly more than 16 percent comes from the regular levy, and 15.68 percent comes from the excess levy.

School officials are looking at pulling almost $712,000 from the 2013 carryover to make up the decreases in funding, Roberts said.

“That’s trying to do all the same things with less money,” she said.

Roberts said the school system’s reserve funds, which she listed at close to $5 million ($4.93 million) in February, will have little more than $2.06 million to open the 2014 fiscal year after board of education allocations for athletic facilities and matching funds for the Edison Middle School project.

She noted the recommended reserve is 3 percent of the operating budget ($3,364,570).

“It is smaller than we would like, but at least it is black,” she said.

Officials are looking at supplement increases for assistant superintendents, which would raise the amount needed from the carryover. Board member Jim Fox asked to consider raises at the director level.

“Don’t forget us,” said Millie Stoneking, Wood County Education Association president.

Law said with the decrease in state funding he was hesitate to expand or reorganize the central office.

“With the decrease in state funding it is difficult to make changes in staffing. We have many needs but it is not advantageous to make moves.”

Officials are requesting a breakdown of high school athletic expenditures and revenue. They requested school system officials work with high school officials to retrieve the athletic financial numbers for an upcoming meeting.

Board President Tim Yeater asked for the possible staffing and pay levels to be put on the next agenda for discussion.