(AUDUBON) The State Teachers Union is asking lawmakers to increase state aid to schools districts. Many school administrators are unsure of what will happen with their budgets for the next school year.
Audubon Superintendent Brett Gibbs said by law the legislature is supposed to inform schools what they will get for allowable growth for the upcoming school year within 30 days and they’re supposed to set that up two years in advance. However, Gibbs said right now they don’t know what their allowable growth is going to be, which makes it hard to budget.
“We do have to follow the law, unlike I guess the legislature, and our budgets have to be approved by April 15th and submitted to the department of management, so we don’t have any wiggle room,” said Gibbs. “Now that means we’ll budget without any idea of what we’re getting, just guessing what we’re going to get.”
Gibbs said if Audubon gets 0% allowable growth that would kick in the budget guarantee; a one year cushion for the lack of funding and the money they would be losing because of declining enrollment.
“Now obviously I can’t blame anybody for declining enrollment, that’s just kind of the trend in western Iowa, but when you have declining enrollment and you get no allowable growth it’s just a double whammy,” said Gibbs.
Gibbs said the budget guarantee falls on the local tax payers and in the case of Audubon Schools, that would be a little over 125-thousand dollars of local tax increase that would have to be made up. He said over the last three or four years with their declining enrollment and with either no allowable growth or very low allowable growth the local taxpayers have had to pay a over a half a million dollars in budget guarantee due to that.
Gibbs said schools are at the point where they are going to have to start looking at cutting programs and offerings to students just to stay fiscally solvent.