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Board weighs next move on budget

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By Molly Haines

The Owen County Board of Education held its second budget work session Tuesday in front of a large crowd of teachers and parents.

The board went through each line item on the budget, discussing many of the items at length.

Owen County School District Finance Officer Sheila Miller said nothing in this year’s budget is a simple decision.

“We’re trying to look at every single line item as worst-case scenario,” Miller said.

Owen County School Board Chairperson Terry Patterson cited the lack of a state budget as still being a major concern.

The Kentucky General Assembly ended its regular session in April without passing a budget for the next two-year period, which begins July 1.

“Obviously, these are difficult times,” Patterson said. “The state still hasn’t passed a budget. We’ve got to do what we can to manage this.”

The board discussed cutting some extra service costs as recommended by principals.

Owen County Schools Superintendent Mark Cleveland said those who receive the extra pay are sometimes teachers who are responsible for things such as yearbook, drama and school technology.

“The coaches and academic team people, we’re not going to mess with,” Cleveland said. “If it’s a service they’re doing outside the classroom, they deserve that stipend, but if it’s something they’re doing during instructional time, it’s kind of like double dipping.”

The board also looked at the technology budget.

Cleveland said there was a discrepancy over a technology budget that was submitted last fall.

“Basically Sheila (Miller) worked off of the technology budget that was submitted,” Cleveland said. “She got $71,500 for the technology budget and now we’re being told that’s not enough.”

Team leaders’ salaries were also discussed during the meeting.

Cleveland said team leaders in lower grades can be over a whole grade and team leaders at the high school can be over one department, such as English.

Team leaders are paid extra for their duties.

Cleveland said the principals agreed they could function without the team leaders.

The board looked at cutting transportation costs for June athletic trips as recommended by Cleveland.

“We’re not looking at cutting those June athletic trips,” Cleveland said. “But rather the cost of transportation. Parents would have to bear that cost.”

Cleveland said administrators were informed Tuesday night that Title One funds had been cut by $4,000.

Title One funds are used for math and reading primarily, Cleveland said.

“The Title One money is over $400,000,” Cleveland said. “We’ve been living off that for the past several years. $4,000 is a cut, but it could have been a lot worse.”

The Owen County Board of Education will hold its regularly scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

A final budget could be voted on during the meeting, Cleveland said.

“If we don’t vote on it that night, it has to be voted on by May 31st,” Cleveland said.