Monday, August 3, 2009

No Recommendation for School Budget

Putnam County's budget committee has voted to send the school system's budget for the upcoming year to the full county commission this month -- without a recommendation. As it now stands, the school board has asked for the same dollar amount this year that they were allocated last year. But because of an overall three percent decline in sales tax revenues this year, the dollars that make up that funding would have to come from a four and a half cent hike in the county property tax rate. The budget committee is apparently not willing to recommend that increase. Robert Greene, a deputy commissioner at the state Department of Education, told the committee that if the county falls short in funding the local portion of the school budget, the state would begin withholding it's funding as of October 1st. Budget committee member Kevin Maynard says that would effectively mean shutting down the schools in October and said "it seems we're headed to a train wreck." Maynard said there was a way to fix the situation without a tax increase, but did not offer specifics for how that could be done.