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Maysville County BOE Discusses Budget

The Ledger Independent

Staffing allocations and bonding potential were the topics of discussion Monday during a special called meeting of the Mason County Board of Education. The meeting was attended by a large contingent of district teachers and administrators.

The first item of discussion was presented by Joe Nance with Ross Sinclair Associates related to the district's bonding potential for facility upgrades.

The targeted upgrades are for a STEAM - science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math - academy at the Carmeuse complex on Clarks Run Road. The project would upgrade the building with indoor classrooms, and outdoor agriculture facilities.

The facility is currently the site of a greenhouse, one indoor classroom and the district's indoor track and field events venue.

Nance explained the district qualifies for $8 million in state bonding funds, more than the projected $4.4 million estimate discussed at the regular Board of Education meeting earlier this month.

"All the money is restricted...the money can only be used for building purposes," Nance said.

The STEAM academy project is in the beginning phases. It is part of the district's overall goal to help students become college and career ready, as mandated under the Kentucky Department of Education testing system.

The other topic of business was staffing allocations for each of the district's four schools. Concerns about budget cuts have been hovering over district administrators since August, when it was discovered the general fund balance was at $1 million, instead of $4 million, as projected by the previous administration at Central Office.

Superintendent Rick Ross told those in attendance to "please understand we are not hiding money...the problem is real."

"We're giving you what we think we can afford," Ross said.

The tentative staffing allocations are due to each school's Site-Based Council by March 1.

Members of the Site-Based Councils will be charged with determining the number of positions necessary at each school.  Ross's tentative plan presented Monday has a student to teacher ratio of 21 to 23 students to one teacher.

Ross also cautioned those on the councils to "think different than you have before on how to allocate staff," and to "focus on the position," not who would be filling the position.  He said the task of hiring the person for the positions will be handled at the District level.

"This is the time when it gets hard," said Ross.

Approximately $1.1 million in payroll must to be cut from the general fund. Ross said he encourages open dialog between himself and district employees on the subject and said there is an understanding programs (like orchestra, etc.) need to be protected.

The Ledger Independent is online at: http://www.maysville-online.com

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