Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 23, 2012

Jasper schools face budget woes


Effingham Daily News

NEWTON —      The Jasper County Schools superintendent painted a bleak financial picture for board of education members when he shared numbers with them earlier this week.

    "We're wanting for Jasper County Schools to be as efficient as possible while maintaining even billing for the students," said Superintendent Dan Cox. "The problem is we just continue losing revenue. We've lost millions in the last 5 years."

    Cox presented Monday the results of the district's audit and a proposed levy. He also showed how they could affect the district's financial future.

    Cox said the results of the audit showed that although the school has decreased expenditures by about $2.2 million -- about 12.85 percent from last year -- the school's revenue continues to drop, too. Since last year, the district has lost $1 million -- or 7.73 percent -- of its revenue.

    "The decrease in expenditures is mainly from combining three elementaries," Cox said."We saved on salary, maintenance, transportation, all sorts of stuff."

    The two main sources of the district's revenue loss are a decrease in state  funding and local taxes. In taxes alone, the district has lost $45,000.

    Cox also said the board might not be able to look much past the next few years when it begins to pull together next year's budget.

    "We used to do a five year plan, but a five year plan is us not feasible," he said."We'll be doing a three year plan but even then, you or I have as good of a guess as to what's going to happen that last year. The district will be entering in strategic planning meetings with the community, with local businesses, families, students if they want to come and parents and see what we need to focus on."

    Cox said the greatest financial threat to the district is continued cuts to state funding. With the district already having made so many cuts to its budget, he said it may be difficult to find room for more.

    "That's a specter that hangs out there," he said."We're looking at more revenue cuts again, and if we need to make more cuts, it's going to be hard to figure out where we're going to make them."

NEWTON --   The Jasper County Schools superintendent painted a bleak financial picture for board of education members when he shared numbers with them earlier this week.

   "We're wanting for Jasper County Schools to be as efficient as possible while maintaining even billing for the students," said Superintendent Dan Cox."The problem is we just continue losing revenue. We've lost millions in the last 5 years."

    Cox presented Monday the results of the district's audit and a proposed levy. He also showed how they could affect the district's financial future.

    Cox said the results of the audit showed that although the school has decreased expenditures by about $2.2 million -- about 12.85 percent from last year -- the school's revenue continues to drop, too. Since last year, the district has lost $1 million -- or 7.73 percent -- of its revenue.

   "The decrease in expenditures is mainly from combining three elementaries," Cox said."We saved on salary, maintenance, transportation, all sorts of stuff."

    The two main sources of the district's revenue loss are a decrease in state  funding and local taxes. In taxes alone, the district has lost $45,000.

    Cox also said the board might not be able to look much past the next few years when it begins to pull together next year's budget.

   "We used to do a five year plan, but a five year plan is us not feasible," he said."We'll be doing a three year plan but even then, you or I have as good of a guess as to what's going to happen that last year. The district will be entering in strategic planning meetings with the community, with local businesses, families, students if they want to come and parents and see what we need to focus on."

    Cox said the greatest financial threat to the district is continued cuts to state funding. With the district already having made so many cuts to its budget, he said it may be difficult to find room for more.

   "That's a specter that hangs out there," he said."We're looking at more revenue cuts again, and if we need to make more cuts, it's going to be hard to figure out where we're going to make them."