McKee's HCCSC budget report somewhat positive

Assistant Superintendent for Business of the Huntington County Community School Corporation Dave McKee gave a quick report of where the corporation stands heading into the New Year on Monday evening, Dec. 21, and the news was somewhat positive.

McKee said HCCSC will finish the year in black, but it's getting tighter, and the true tests will come in the next 18 to 24 months. He said the corporation received a check from the auditor's office, and while the shortfall was expected, heexplained that the uncollected amount of property taxes is throwing the corporation for a loop.

The culprit for the money they are not getting is property tax assessment appeals, which led McKee to question the assessments to begin with.

He continued by saying that the budget advertised was underestimated on purpose, but he is not sure it was done so enough.

Along the budget lines, Superintendent of Schools for HCCSC Tracey Shafer responded to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' announcement of cutting education spending in the state.

Shafer said administration needs to focus on the corporation's core values, missions and goals, and to not making any "knee-jerk decisions."

Two pieces being looked into to save HCCSC money, Shafer explained, are operations and personnel. He said that if they can cut unnecessary items in their budget, that it would be the way to go. In those pieces, three areas are being looked at -- funds, categories and buildings. One discussion to save money included going building by building to look at their needs and try to make cuts in their funds. Those cuts would be made in three ways -- reductions, cost-avoidance/fund shifting and revenue generation. The budget would either be outright reduced, or the funds would be cut through eliminating unnecessary costs. The third piece, revenue generation, includes looking for grants.

Shafer said that immediate areas to look at are reducing accounts, spending and attrition. He agreed with Daniels, saying that "head-hunting" isn't the way to cut costs, and he will look into employee input.

Even though Shafer talked generalities Monday night, he said he hopes to bring back specifics to the next meeting, Jan. 11, 2010.