WCCS looking for ways to live within its means

COLUMBIA CITY — The Whitley County Consolidated School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees is inching closer to making tough decisions in order to tighten its belt.At its regular meeting Feb. 7, Superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor supplied the board with a large number of potential “budget-saving” measures in order to combat a steady decline in the school system’s general fund.“We’re just trying to keep as many programs as we can and live within our means,” O’Connor said Thursday.“This is hopefully going to get us through the rest of this year and all of next year, but it’s going to be an every year thing.”The board meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday.According to O’Connor, decisions on budget cuts will go from theoretical to real in the span of two weeks.“We’re going from potential ideas to recommendations, and I have changed some things,” she said.Anxiety increased in at least one WCCS school after O’Connor presented her proposed budget cuts in the last meeting.At that time, O’Connor was quick to point out her presentation to the board at its work session were “just ideas.”At that meeting, she told the board the school system’s expenditures had been outpacing its revenues.“We’re looking at every possible place we can,” she said, referring to areas where scaling back can help get the corporation’s budget back on track.She told the board that the school system’s 2010 General Fund Budget took a hit of $1,085,488 due to the economy.The superintendent said the corporation is experiencing an “erosion of its general fund balance,” with projected reductions to continue from the $1,569,189 in 2010, to $830,120 this year and $243,227 in 2012.She added that stimulus funds will be expended at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.