Altus Schools see state budget cuts

By Mary O. Esparza, -

School districts all across the state are making plans and coming up with some creative changes (some unpleasant) to deal with ongoing state education budget cuts.

On Monday evening at the Altus Public Schools regular board meeting, Superintendent Roger Hill reported that for the 2015-16 fiscal year, there have been two state revenue failures declared. The first state revenue failure resulted in a 3-percent cut in state aid, as well as some of the state activity fund budget line items, and the flexible benefit allowance. The second revenue state failure resulted in a 4-percent cut. Hill said that the state legislature did approve a supplemental appropriation out of the Rainy Day Fund to offset the 2015-16 budget cuts. The total difference amount lost to Altus Public Schools is still $178,115.59.

Superintendent Hill said, “Altus Public Schools have managed their budget very well and done so much work behind the scenes in reducing payroll through downsizing staff and attrition. Many people don’t see or understand what we have done in order to do that. Hill went on to say, “We have reassigned people, and our teachers feel the pain more than anyone. Our teachers are being asked to do more with less. Altus Schools have done the best to protect jobs and programs. That has always been our goal throughout the entire process.”

The Altus Public Schools General Fund cash balance as of July 1, 2015 was $3,901,258.34 and the estimated cash balance for June 30, 2016 is $3,882,089.51.

The 2016-17 budget cuts items and projected savings total is $1,200,000. The total projected savings is derived from elimination of the following positions through attrition: 16 teaching positions, one administrative position, 14 support staff positions, and the closing of two buildings.

Hill also said that he is saddened in seeing so many Oklahoma School Districts broke and having to furlough, go to four school days a week, and cut programs.

Altus Public Schools is anticipating 1.5 to 2 million in funding for the 2016-17 school year.

By Mary O. Esparza,

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221 ext. 2077

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