Carroll schools propose austere budget for '96-'97

January 12, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Carroll school Superintendent Brian Lockard presented an austere spending plan yesterday that will cut deeply into instructional programs and may require teachers and staff to return a 3 percent raise they negotiated a year ago.

If necessary, Dr. Lockard told the county school board, he will offer a second list of proposed cuts to instructional programs on Jan. 23 at the first public hearing on the proposed 1996-1997 budget.

"I'm telling you right up front, the class sizes will inch up a little bit," Dr. Lockard said.

"This is the first time we really had to go in and reduce services and specific programs," he said.

The budget proposal for next year is $143,449,246, up 6.74 percent ($9 million) from the current year, and is about $3.5 million more than the County Commissioners have told the school system to expect.

The major expenses are 77 new positions, most of which are to accommodate an expected 902 new students and the opening of Oklahoma Road Middle School.

Three more special education bus routes and nine more other bus routes also will be needed to accommodate the increase in students, at a cost of $907,137.

Ralph Blevins, president of the teachers' union, said the prospect of cutting last year's negotiated pay increase does not surprise school system employees.

"We've understood it's a possibility all along," Mr. Blevins said. "At least they started with a realistic budget. They didn't just cave in."

Salary agreements with the county's school employee unions are always subject to funding by the county, and this would not be the first time the schools have had to ask employees to give up raises, Dr. Lockard said.

Among other reductions, school administrators propose cutting $814,344 in existing programs, including:

* Eliminating the middle school computer program.

* Contracting fewer music guests and outside judges for contests.

* Freezing all hiring.

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