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KCSD braces for financial hit from state

Posted: February 24, 2011 4:28 p.m.
Updated: February 25, 2011 5:00 a.m.

School districts will likely play a leading role in helping plug the $854 million state budget gap.

That’s the warning Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Chief Financial Officer Donnie Wilson made to members of the facilities and finance committee Tuesday afternoon as he presented them with an initial starting point to the upcoming budget process.

School districts across the state will certainly see a shortfall in state funds next year, Wilson said, as the state tries to figure out how to handle its $854 million budget gap.

“How are they going to fill that gap? I can tell you one way they’re going to do it … one portion of this $854 million gap is going to be passed to school districts,” Wilson said. “We’re going to receive cuts. My guess is that it may be as much as a third of the overall state budget shortfall, since we’re such a large portion of the state’s budget. And if it’s only third, I’ll be surprised.”

During the meeting, no specific cuts to the school district’s general fund were discussed. Instead, Wilson said his primary focus was to present the board with a worst-case scenario based on all of the preliminary information that he has gathered.

Included in the worst-case scenario, Wilson told the board, is an estimated $6.7 million reduction of funding, which includes the loss of $2.28 million in stimulus funds next year.

Additionally, the worst-case scenario includes a local funding increase of $660,000, which would be the result of county council approving a millage increase.

But if county council does not approve the millage increase, Wilson said, then “our problem just got $660,000 worse.”

On Thursday morning, KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said he has no intention of drafting the budget based on any of the information that has come out of the House Ways and Means Committee, as many of those numbers will change nearly every day until a budget is approved.

“This was just a starting point, an outline. We’re starting with a worst-case scenario using data from a superintendents’ meeting that took place two weeks ago,” Morgan said. “This is just part of the normal guessing game. We don’t know the whole picture yet.”

 

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