FWCS Kicks Off 2011 Budget Talks

By John W. Davis

September 13, 2010 Updated Sep 13, 2010 at 11:50 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - FWCS leaders are shrinking their budget for the second straight year.

The 2011 Budget is currently projected at $274 million dollars, which is more than $3 million dollars less than the 2010 budget.

Meanwhile, district leaders credit about $17 million in cuts to the original 2010 budget, with making 2011 budget cuts a lot lighter.

"If in fact we don't get the cut we got last year that will be good news for the school district," said FWCS Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend.

"But at this point we've anticipated there will be a reduction again and hopefully we won't have any additional surprises," said Friend.

FWCS officials will have to wait until January, 2011 to learn if more cuts will be necessary because of a loss in state funding.

Meanwhile, district leaders used the following example during Monday night's presentation to illustrate the impact of possible state budget cuts.

For every 1% of funding cuts sent down from the state level, FWCS leaders will have to cut $1.8 million dollars from the 2011 budget.

District officials have also approximated that tax caps will lower property tax revenues by $4.16 million dollars.

However, $6.2 million in stimulus funds could off set future state cuts or property tax losses.

Bus replacement was also a hot topic.

District leaders report that 28 buses will need to be replacement in 2011.

That is up from replacing 6 in 2009 and 5 in 2010.

Meanwhile, FWCS Board Member Kevin Brown said at the district outsources custodians and possibly other services in the future, the public deserves full disclosure.

"It's pertinent that the community knows what we as board members and the Superintendent and her cabinet members what they're involved in outside of FWCS... What boards they sit on, what financial interests they have within the community," said FWCS Board Member Kevin Brown.

Brown wants his full disclosure policy to be introduced and discussed at the next board meeting on Monday, September 27.

Meanwhile, a public budget hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 27 at the Grile Administrative Center.

A final vote to approve the 2011 budget is expected to take place on Monday, October 11 at the FWCS Board Meeting at Grile Administrative Center.

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