For the first time in 5 years, the Benton-Carroll-Salem Local Schools ended the fiscal year without deficit spending. After many years of using up cash reserves, the board along with administration began the long, painstaking task to reduce expenses. In the span of one year, expenses were reduced by nearly 12%, which played the largest part in ending the deficit spending trend.
Treasurer Tim Coffman stated, “While it is certainly great to have eliminated deficit spending this past year, it is a trend we would like to see continued and we will work very hard to try and make that happen.”
The past academic year was not without pain and hardship. Deficit spending and dropping enrollment necessitated major changes for the district. The district moved forward in 2012-2013 with 40 fewer positions in certified and classified staff district wide. The changes in personnel affected all areas within the district, including curricular and extracurricular activities. The elementary buildings, Graytown, Carroll and Rocky Ridge, were consolidated into one at RC Waters, which was reconfigured to service kindergarten through third grade students. The fourth grade students found a new home at Oak Harbor Middle School and the eighth graders were placed in their own wing at Oak Harbor High School. Start times for all buildings were changed and bus routes were reconfigured into single routes from double routes in years past. Changes in administration in both the treasurer and superintendent positions were crucial to the district’s success.
All of the sacrifices incurred by both the staff and parents of the BCS district contributed to the end of deficit spending. “The strength and resiliency of all B-C-S staff, and putting students first, have made the 2012-2013 transition school year a success for the school district,” commented Superintendent Dr. Guy Parmigian.
While 2012-2013 was most definitely a year of change in the BCS district, these changes will not define the district. The board and the administration are committed to making good financial decisions in an effort to ward off massive changes to the educational system as seen last year.
Even though revenue streams are relatively stagnant, Coffman remains vigilant when trying to identify possible ways to recoup current expenses. Superintendent Parmigian scrutinizes any
additional expense and has adopted a zero-sum approach to finances, meaning that where possible, any additional expense must be balanced by a reduction.