UCPS passes interim budget

Jun. 06, 2013 @ 05:02 PM

After passing an interim budget Tuesday night, Union County Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Dan Karpinski gave the board an update on the budget outlook. 

This year's budget is a "needs only" budget, he told the board. 

The budget requests $4.7 million for operation expenses and $8.3 million for capital outlay.

Under the proposed Union County budget, the school system faces a $2.7 million shortfall in operations and a $5.3 million shortfall in capital outlay. 

The interim budget was passed because Karpinski said he does not yet have numbers from the state, local or federal governments. 

Some of their budget challenges, Karpinski told the board, include enrollment increases and anticipated "flat" or less state funding. In addition, charter school growth is out-pacing the school system.

The budget also has to address a mandatory reversion to the state (estimated at $10.2 million), a mandatory pay raise, a mandated raise in employee benefits costs, increased utilities expenses and a substantial decrease in federal funding due to the sequestration.

Superintendent Mary Ellis said in her superintendent's report that due to the sequester, they may have to cut 13 exceptional children teachers and 15 exceptional children teacher assistants. The proposed governor and senate budgets could result in the loss of 65 to 85 teacher assistants, though that number is not firm. The state budget specifies second grade teacher assistants.

Ellis said it was "very unpleasant."

"I hate it," she said. "We've done everything we know to do."

The county commission votes on its proposed budget June 17. The school board meets June 18 to discuss the budget.