OCS faces $245K shortfall

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Opp City School system will be looking at a $245,000 drop in its budget for the 2015 fiscal year, and officials say it is primarily due to a loss in enrollment.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, Chief Financial Officer Linda Banks said the budget for 2015 is set at $7.4 million after losing 62 students over the course of the 2012-13 school year. Banks said the loss of students, from 1,324 to 1,262, also cost the system state funding for three teaching positions.

Superintendent Michael Smithart said the enrollment drop is significant, but not indicative of the overall health of the system.

“The students are not dropping out, which is good,” Smithart said. “They are not transferring to other parts of the county. These families are moving. Unfortunately, there are some variables that are just outside of the control of the school board. It’s the economy.”

Smithart also reminded board members that the system would be financially sound, despite the budget drop.

“Although we are seeing some decreases, we are in shape to handle this because of the decisions the board has made in the past.”

Banks said enrollment needs to improve, but also said brighter days are ahead.

“What we need in the future is for our enrollment to level off and start increasing,” she said. “But this is certainly manageable. And we certainly feel good about (fiscal year) 16 and beyond, because of state funding.”