R-6 School District faces reduced funding

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By ROB CURRY
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The Warrensburg R-6 Board of Education is looking at ways to reduce spending as state funding decreases.
Assistant Superintendent Andy Kohl emphasized rebuilding the district’s reserve funds during the board meeting on Tuesday.
According to the board’s policy, the district must build the reserve to between 12 and 20 percent. Each percent represents approximately $328,000.
District officials want to build the reserve balance by 2 to 3 percent annually until the fund reaches 20 percent, but that means $2.5 million in cuts to an already tightening budget.
Since 2009, Warrensburg has been underfunded by $5.9 million, Kohl said. Enrollment has also shrunk to 3,263 from 3,303 in September 2012. Fewer students means less funding.
While schools statewide have lobbied for $125 million from the state to keep funding stable, reports from the governor and House indicated just $50 million to $60 million would be added, Kohl said.
Funding will be reallocated to schools deemed “hold harmless,” meaning their funding cannot fall below levels from the 2005-2006 fiscal year. While Kohl does not anticipate Warrensburg will fall to these levels, he said the district should expect $120,000 to as much as $300,000 less from the state next year.
School district administrators have been working since November 2014 to identify cuts for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
Kohl reported that the district could cut positions through attrition, which means rather than laying anyone off, the district would not refill certain positions once employees retire or leave.
“I expect we will lose four teaching positions but the board must approve,” Kohl said.
He said spending must be reduced for the remainder of the 2014-2015 year. The district’s annual revenue was approximately $2.3 million less than last year due to early payment of property taxes in 2013.
A few items have contributed to higher spending this fiscal year. Salary increases and repaying the 2009A Bonds in September 2014 added $1.1 million.
Some increases for next year have been budgeted, including a $1 raise on the hourly wage for substitutes.