Even With 'Rainy Day' Funds Anderson Superintendent Has Budget Concerns
TULSA, Oklahoma - Monday, the state legislature approved some ‘rainy day’ money for schools, but it's about half of what was cut earlier in the year.
And with state revenue dropping, school districts are trying to adapt.
In a fourth grade classroom at Anderson Elementary, teacher Harold Dotson has a class of about 20 students.
Small classes are one hallmark of the district, but they'll grow next year when the school loses at least one teacher to budget cuts.
The superintendent, Brett Banker, is trying to manage a budget that's decreasing every month.
"What do you do with that? You just have to do the best you can, cut where you can and plan for next year," Banker said.
The superintendent said his original 2016 budget estimate was for $712,000; now that’s been cut back to $605,000, and he’s expecting another final cut of at least three percent more.
The district is doing what it can to cut expenses, but, this time of year, that's especially difficult.
When people are on a contract, you can't save any money by cutting them off the payroll, so the district is trying to save money everywhere else.
Banker said, “Without breaching contract you can't really cut staff members, and that's where 80 percent of your funding goes, is staff. So we've not been able to cut anybody at this point.”
The district eliminated substitutes, saving about $15,000 and is laying off the janitor to save another $15,000. Next year they'll not replace a retiring teacher saving $40,000.
But even with those savings, the superintendent wonders if it will be enough.
Banker said, “Depending on where we go for next year, I may have to cut some staff for next year, and that's some hard decisions I'll have to make in the next month or so.”