Jun 262013

By Linda Kor
The Joseph City School Board gave approval to a proposed $4.1 million budget last Thursday, showing a $204,650 reduction from last year’s budget. According to Business Manager Carol Henderson, the reduction is due in large part to the decrease in student count and legislation that dictates how an override is calculated as part of the general budget limit.
“The district also is not participating in the Optional Performance Incentive Plan anymore, which cut three percent for the base level assessed per student,” explained Henderson.
Student count in the district was at 447 students last year and this year that number is expected to drop by 31. Earlier this year Superintendent Robert Klein cited lack of employment forcing families to leave the area as the main reason for the drop.
Adding to the hardship are cuts coming from the state level.
“The District Additional Assistance money (formerly Capital Outlay and Soft Capital) is still subject to the cuts made by the legislature last year, but the cut was less than in fiscal year 2013 by almost $50,000,” stated Henderson.
Earlier in the month the board approved raises totaling $59,896 for the coming year for staff in hopes of retaining and recruiting quality employees. That increase will be paid with excess prepaid insurance funds the district had reserved.
According to Henderson, the budget cuts were anticipated by the district and measures were taken to be sure the district was in good financial shape despite the decrease in the budget for the coming year.
The budget must be posted with the Arizona Department of Education and advertised prior to the governing board reconvening at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, to render final approval and hold a Truth in Taxation hearing.
The regular governing board meeting will immediately follow the budget and tax sessions.