School Comments

School Comments by Dr. Robert Mayer There have been questions posed to me and the school board members relevant to an opt out for the school district. There has been no official action by the board at this time. However, the board stated publicly on Feb. 24 that an opt out vote was very likely sometime in September for the 2004-2005 school year. The amount of the opt out and the length of the opt out will be determined early this summer.

Revenue shortfalls in the general fund have existed in the Vermillion School District for four years (counting 2003-2004). Those shortfalls have been met by budget cutting and spending of reserves. The shortfall expected for 2003-2004 is about $650,000. This amount will be covered through more budget cutting and spending down the reserves. When next school year ends there will be almost no reserve left for help with the shortfall expected in 2004-2005. The school board must either cut programs or ask for an opt out.

Since the 2001-2002 school year the district has made budget cuts and/or revenue enhancements in the general fund of $1,000,000; 15 percent of the total general fund budget. The school board has delayed cuts that would increase elementary school class size, reduce high school elective offerings, eliminate specific extra curricular activities, and eliminate transportation services. There will not be enough revenue to adequately fund these programs for 2004-2005 as has been done in the past.

On May 6 a presentation will be made at the PTA meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. at Vermillion High School. There will be school board members present to answer questions or hear comments. Please consider this an invitation to attend this informational meeting regardless of whether or not you are a PTA member.

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