Mineral Springs-Saratoga School District’s fiscal distress plan means major cutbacks
Saying he knew that cutbacks would be unpopular, the interim superintendent of the Mineral Springs-Saratoga School District proposed some cost-saving measures Tuesday in an effort to keep the district from ceding control to the State Department of Education.
On Dec. 10, the department of education had placed the district on fiscal distress status, giving the district a deadline of two years to right its financial ship.
At the hurriedly called meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Bill Blackwood related some cost-saving measures for the 2013-14 school year, and all of them are reductions in hours and special pay for teachers and coaches.
He told that board that no contracts could be changed for the 2012-13 school, but that about $293,000 savings could be realized because of people who were no longer working for the school. An additional $100,000 was ‘found’ in funds for Saratoga because of its remoteness.
With his proposed 2013-14 cutbacks the district could have more than $700,000 in the bank and balanced books at the end of the school year, he said.
Some of the personnel cutbacks were cutbacks in the number of days some coaches work; elimination of pay for services no longer needed or no longer being done.
These were tough decisions, he said, adding that unfortunately the only place where cutbacks could be made were in salaries and in benefits.
“This will cause some hardships,” he said, adding that the district might lose some certified personnel.
He also cautioned the board that the district faced an unknown amount to be paid back to the Title 1 program because some money had been taken from the wrong fund.
Board member Linda Ross said that there was little alternative, and member Dale Gathright Jr. moved to adopt Blackwood’s proposal. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.
Other board members at the meeting included William Dixon, Dornell Trotter, JoAnn Walker and board president Mike Erwin.