STANFORD — As funding sources continue to shrink, Lincoln County schools may have to consider staffing cuts later this school year in order to keep a balanced budget, Finance Director Marsha Abel told school board members Sept. 13.
Abel highlighted the loss of more than $1 million in funding that had been coming from the federal stimulus program, which the school district had been using to pay salaries.
On top of that, the school district spent about $358,000 more than it generated in the previous fiscal year.
To make up for those losses, the school district has already approved a tax increase and made staffing and transportation cuts, Abel said.
The district cut 14 certified and 12 classified positions in order to save about $781,000. Preschool transportation was cut as well, saving an estimated $75,000, for a total of approximately $856,000 in cuts.
The district is expected to generate an additional $196,000 in revenue because it voted to increase property tax revenues by 4 percent, Abel said.
Combined with the cuts, that means the district has compensated for about $1.05 million of the approximately $1.4 million in losses that Abel identified.
Abel said the district does have some additional savings coming down the road thanks to the refunding of old bonds, which is expected to save $414,000 over the next 10 years.
Abel said last year, the district had to deal with a funding cut midway through the year, and it may happen again this year.
"We may have to be making more difficult decisions in the spring as far as staff cuts," Abel said.
The district's current working budget shows expected general fund income of about $7 million less than last year, but Abel pointed out that all the figures are subject to change as the school year progresses and she gets more and more information about funding the district is receiving.
The working budget only reflects the funding information already available, so the picture it paints can potentially change for the better, Abel said.
Last year's working budget presented in September 2011 accounted for about $7 million less in general fund income than the school district wound up having by the end of the year, Abel said.
"We try to budget conservatively on the revenue and then hope that we get more revenue than what we budgeted for," she said. "It is a work in progress all year long … We always hope that it will look better."