School districts throughout Indiana are now looking harder at making cuts after Governor Mitch Daniels stepped up the timetable for reducing the education budget by 3.5 percent. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.
Indiana districts expected to have 18 months to cut their budgets. But the Governor now says districts will have to absorb a $300 million cut over 12 months beginning in January.
For the New Albany – Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation, it means a $2.5 million cut. This is after it has already cut $2.1 million from its budget for the next two years.
Superintendent Bruce Hibbard says the district is looking at cutting several areas and even the efficiency of running 13 elementary schools.
“It gives us the opportunity to really change things and I’m looking for win-wins — how we can enhance the academic side and yet stay within the budget,” he says.
The state has provided districts with a list [pdf] of possible places to make cuts. It includes cuts to benefits and travel budgets. And State Superintendent Tony Bennett says he believes districts can make the cuts without teacher layoffs.
“We hope that local communities will have that discussion about the importance of making sacrifices to keep teachers working,” Bennet says.
Hibbard says this situation comes at a very challenging time for education in this country.
“In the year 2014, every student is supposed to be proficient or at standard,” Hibbard says. “You have that working as well as a budget situation that we’re actually going to be taking resources away from our schools.”