By NEESEY PAYNE
With unfunded mandates from the state, balancing a budget for the 2012-13 school year has been a daunting task for members of the Pulaski County School Board. Numerous cuts were made, including a reduction in workforce of two assistant principals.
At the beginning of Thursday’s session of the Pulaski County School Board, Dr. Winsdon Pound reiterated comments he made before the board at its last meeting, urging members to reconsider reinstating the two assistant principal positions.
Since June, Pound along with administrative staff, parents and teachers at Dublin Elementary School have expressed their desires to keep the assistant principal positions, more specifically, Donna Payne, sharing the integral role she plays at the school.
In a budget meeting held June 1, Vice-Chairman Jeff Bain suggested approval of the budget subject to an interim review to consider reinstatement of the positions based on a re-evaluation of carryover or available unanticipated funding from the state.
Thursday night, Dr. Robert Becker, superintendent, said the school system ended up with approximately $541,542 in carryover monies.
“We did, in fact, meet our targeted goal between $300,000 and $350,000 that we had banked on to use in our upcoming budget year. Then, at the last moment the state sent us sales tax revenue that was unexpected. That amount would allow us to go forward and make the recommendation to reinstate the two assistant principals,” he said.
Becker added there was also enough carryover to return the additional reductions each school made during the budget cycle, which amounts to $14,686.
Chairman Mike Barbour stated, “Up to $300,000 of the carryover is part of the budget appropriation from the county. To utilize any portion of that sum over and above the $300,000 is going to require action from the county to re-appropriate that additional sum.”
“That is correct,” Lal Harter, director of finance, said.
“Can we (approve reinstatement of the assistant principals and reimbursement of funds to each school) unless we have the approval of the board of supervisors to reallocate what amounts to $241,542?” asked Barbour.
“The school board could certainly approve it, but at the end of the day it is subject to the approval of the board of supervisors,” Harter said. “Historically they have re-appropriated those funds.”
Becker said that even if the board of supervisors didn’t approve re-appropriation of the $241,000 there was still funding available to cover the costs of the assistant principals and reimbursement of funds to each school. Becker added that he, along with Harter, would write a letter to County Administrator Peter Huber regarding the re-appropriation of funds to use them for operational needs and capital improvement projects.
A motion was made by Bain to move the information item to an action item. It was seconded by board member Joe Guthrie. The board approved using $170,416 of carryover funding to reinstate the two assistant principal positions and returning additional reductions made by each school.
Andrea Jarrells, a substitute teacher with Pulaski County Public Schools, spoke before the board saying she stood corrected when she said in a previous budget session of the school board the matter of the assistant principals fell on deaf ears. “Obviously it did not,” she said.