Spring Cove planning budget cuts

ROARING SPRING – Spring Cove School District administrators have spent the past week planning budget cuts in preparation for a special school board meeting Monday, board members said.

The board’s Finance Committee is set to meet Monday afternoon to discuss the recommended cuts, which administrators have said should help eliminate the district’s growing $1 million budget deficit.

“At this point, everything is fair game. We’re looking at everything from top to bottom,” said Charlene Dodson, a board member on the Finance Committee. “We’ll know [specifics] Monday, I suppose.”

Little information has been released on the 2013-14 budget plans, though an April 30 board statement said the district would have to “do more with less” in the face of level state funding and a slowly shrinking student population.

Administrators in recent weeks have circulated budget worksheets to list possible cuts and financial scenarios, Business Manager John Clark said.

“We’re asking: Can we shave a little here, can we shave a little there?” Clark said. “You get to a point where there are no more big chunks to cut.”

An apparent budget worksheet dated April 22 lists a range of possible cuts, from energy expenses to teaching positions, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. The form’s veracity could not be confirmed, however, and Clark noted that administrators have circulated updated lists since that time.

District officials remain hopeful, Clark said, that they can both close the money gap and introduce a pair of new programs: a science-technology-engineering-math, or STEM, curriculum, and a “one-to-one” plan to distribute computers to every student above fifth grade.

The STEM program would be comparable to one employed at the Bellwood-Antis School District, Clark said.

“Kids could have these [computers] all the time. They’d be theirs to use or take home,” he said.

While an individual laptop computer or tablet for each student could be expensive, the district would see savings in hard-copy textbooks and supplies, he said.

No new programs or cuts are set in stone, Dodson stressed. The Finance Committee’s other members were not available for comment Friday.

“We’re still waiting to hear from the administration,” Dodson said. “I would imagine they’re using every last minute.”

Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.