Past public hearing on the school budget.

Greg Locke speaks at a past public hearing on the county budget and taxes.

A comment posted on Monday’s story about the weather urged county citizens to attend what she called a meeting of the county board of supervisors Tuesday night to protest cuts in the school board budget for next year.

Tuesday night is not a meeting of the Floyd County Board of Supervisors but a informational gathering of the county school board to raise public concerns about the possibility of cuts in the school budget request.

Although no county budget has yet been approved by the supervisors, they did discuss moving $105,000 out of funds allocated last year, including $85,000 set for an irrigation system for the football field.  The Supervisors did not vote on the move but agreed, by consensus, to consider it as work on the new budget continues.  The school board is asking for a $2.2 million increase in their budget this year and that is still pending.

When word of the discussion reached the school board offices, prompted by a Facebook post that had the amount larger than it actually was, it prompted a flurry of emails between School Superintendent Kevin Harris and County Administrator Dan Campbelll and notices to employees of possible personnel cuts, program reductions or eliminations even possible closure of a least one school.

As Mr. Spock once observed on an episode of Star Trek, the the defecation struck the rotary oscillator.

No action has been taken on the school budget request or the overall county budget yet, primarily because the state budget has not been approved and no one is sure how much money will come to the school system and other county agencies from the state.

No budget decisions have been mad yet and nothing is set in stone.  The proposed $105,000 removal of funds allocated primarily for an irrigation project, represents a deduction of less than one half of one percent of the current school system allocation.  The school system will face serious funding problems if the $2.2 million in additional funds they seek is not approved, just as other county agencies face problems if they don’t the funds they feel they need.

During budget work sessions, budget discussions often include discussions of both cuts and allocations that never make it to final approval.  In this year’s budget work sessions, supervisors are also discussing reducing or eliminating the sheriff’s department’s employee retention fund — a move that could cause some deputies to seek employment with other departments.

Requests from county agencies this year would increase the county budget by about $4 million.  The school system, which accounts for two-thirds of the county budget, is asking for a little more than half of that increase.  Any substantial increase in the county budget will require an increase in property taxes and, most likely, personal property levees.

Those who attend Tuesday night’s meeting to speak out in favor of the school’s budget needs will be preaching to the choir.  The school board wants both the increase for next year and the current allocation left alone.

Those who want let the county board of supervisors know their feelings can speak at the public comment period of the supervisors first meeting of April on the 8th or at the second meeting on the four Tuesday night of the month.  The first monthly meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. with the public comment period at 9 a.m. or the second meeting on the fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the public comment period is first on the agenda.

Once a budget is approved and/or a tax level is set by the supervisors, a pubic hearing on the matter will be scheduled.

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