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January 13, 2014

NA-FC Schools' budget in the black

Officials celebrate first positive budget in years

NEW ALBANY — Following five years of hard financial times and difficult cuts, the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. board of trustees on Monday took a moment to celebrate a budget back in the black.

Fred McWhorter, chief business officer, said instead of dipping into cash reserves to balance its budget by the end of the year, the district has a positive balance of more than $381,000.

“It’s taken a lot of hard decisions, a lot of cooperation from everybody — administration all throughout the corporation, [the] teachers association, all the different employee groups. Everybody came together and it got accomplished.”

McWhorter said a lot of decisions by the board and the administration led to a positive balance, including paying off pension bonds and lowering debt obligations and refinancing middle school bonds, giving the district $4.2 million in interest savings.

But he also said some of the cuts in the last five years also included elimination of retiree insurance. Teacher layoffs and school closures were also part of cost reduction plans.

Those cuts, however, were legislative directives. State and federal appropriations for 2013 were more than $4 million less than they were in 2008.

Joy Lohmeyer, president of the district’s teachers’ association, said while some of the cuts hurt teachers through layoffs, freezing wages and other means, it took cooperation from her organization to help the district right its finances.

“The understanding with that is when they move forward and as monies are available, we’d put that back for salaries and that sort of thing,” Lohmeyer said after the meeting. “We’d also look at reinstituting teaching positions that have been cut. As an association, we’re very supportive of bringing back teachers for music art and P.E. Our bargaining team has worked hard with the administrative team, there’s been a lot of research back and forth and our salaries are low compared to corps of our size. But we’re hopefully moving toward that now that the corporation is back in the black.”

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