Good News for Ozark Schools Budget

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

The Ozark City School system is finally getting some good news when it comes to their 2011 budget.

News 4 sat down with Superintendent Michael Lenhart to talk about where they're headed financially.

The most recent Ozark City Schools budget saw $1.2 million dollars in cuts but school leaders couldn't tell until this month if they'd have to make more.

“You can budget out those costs and make a prediction about where you’re going to be, but reality sets in when you get the money and those people actually leave the payroll or those programs close and you find out whether those cuts are enough,” says Lenhart.

October's recorded cuts came out to $111,000.

If you multiply that by 12 months, it saves $1.3 million dollars, just over the $1.2 million needed.

“If it stays consistent with October that prediction will probably be pretty accurate,” says Lenhart.

Currently the school system's emergency reserve has just over 700-thousand dollars... That's less than half of what they require.

But if they stay on track, they should be able to finish the year with almost a million dollars in reserve.

"Of course that's still under but it does show that we have made a gain. I think that's a fiscally responsible rate of growth. That means we didn't cut programs to the point that we're going to be an overnight success, we're leaving the important programs in place,” says Lenhart.

Superintendent Lenhart says it's looking good, but that's as long as the State of Alabama isn't hit with another round of proration this year.

“If they do prorate, we've committed to not letting our school system operate in the red and that would mean pretty deep program cuts, cutting teachers and cutting programs to live within the revenue flow that's coming in,” says Lenhart.

Even a 2% proration would throw off the budget.

Lenhart says he should have a better idea in a couple months if they'll see proration again, so he's staying cautious.

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