Wood County Board of Education to hold budget work session on Saturday

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Board of Education will meet in special session Saturday for a day-long budget workshop.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the board’s 13th and Plum streets offices in Parkersburg and will last until 4 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

Board President Rick Olcott said the workshop will give board members, the superintendent and the district finance director a chance to go line-by-line through the current school year’s budget as well as look at the proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year.

“We make it into a very interactive work session,” Olcott said. “It gives us a better understanding of the current budget and the proposed budget, as well as an understanding of the financial challenges we’re facing due to years of declining enrollment.”

In recent personnel discussions, Superintendent Will Hosaflook said the district has lost more than 440 students this school year alone, which translates to a reduction in state funding of about $2.2 million. The decline is part of a trend, with the school system losing nearly 1,300 students since 2012.

Olcott said Saturday’s work session is purely informational and gives board members a chance to ask questions about the budget, but no decisions will be made. Olcott said the process of formally reviewing and approving the school budget will be held during the next several weeks as part of the school board’s regular meeting schedule.

“There is no decision being made at all” Saturday, Olcott said. “But the public is welcome to attend to get a better idea of the budget and the challenges we’re facing.”