WATERFORD- Wolf Creek Superintendent Bob Caldwell told board of education members Monday that the latest version of the state's biennial budget restores the requirement to fund gifted classes- but not the money.
"We would be paying for it with local funds," Caldwell said. "Gifted is an excellent program, but I want to emphasize that unfunded mandates from the state, quite frankly, are the reason you see so many operating levies, one of the reasons."
The $55.6 billion budget plan, approved last week by the Ohio House of Representatives, requires districts to maintain 2009 spending on gifted education but provides no additional dollars to do so.
Hearings on the legislation are under way in the Senate. The new fiscal year starts July 1, so lawmakers have until June 30 to approve the two-year spending blueprint.
Caldwell did not make a recommendation regarding the issue but just informed board members of the development.
The amount the district spends on gifted education was not immediately available. Caldwell noted Wolf Creek shares the cost of a gifted teacher with Fort Frye Local Schools through the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center.
In other business, treasurer Rachel Miller told board members the latest five-year forecast, due to the state this month, was not ready to present to them due to technical issues.
Caldwell said this means the district will operate under its current five-year forecast for one more month but the budget projections will still be turned in to the state on time.
"It will get sent to the state but it will be presented to you in June," he said.
Caldwell noted that the delay may allow Miller to get more accurate projections, pointing to the incomplete state budget.
"You don't even know what you're getting from the state," he said.
Miller said she does not expect the forecast to include any negative balances.
"I do not predict it but there's still a lot of numbers to put in," she said.