The Harrison County Board of Education had a packed agenda on Monday night, with spending being a hot topic for discussion. The meeting lasted more than four hours and got pretty heated at times, as its agenda included two words that no school official wants to hear: "spending freeze."
When asked if the county's school system was under a spending freeze, president David Sturm issued the following statement:
"I guess technically, no, because they still have the ability to spend money. However, they do have to get the approval of their department head to spend anything over the $500," said Sturm.
Sturm said this is a prudent act by the BOE to ensure that certain projects, such as improvements to Simpson Elementary, would be finished on time, but he also says he was surprised to hear the numbers involving the BOE's contingency fund.
"And we knew, as a result of those decisions, that our contingency wouldn't be as high as it had been in previous years. But to hear some of the alarming terms that have been recently offered, I think was a little concerning because it's more than just a lower contingency fund," said Sturm.
During the meeting, board members expressed concern over the amount in the BOE's contingency funds.
"We don't have any contingency funding," said BOE member Chuck Reider. "It's gone."
"That's right." said superintendent Susan Collins.
"I've never seen this county not have a contingency fund, all the years I've worked here, in 30 years," said Reider.
The BOE says it still has plenty of work to do on its budget for next year and plans to finalize that budget by May.