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July 16, 2013

New Albany-Floyd County schools mull transportation funding changes

NEW ALBANY —

Proposed changes to transportation policies could allow the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. to stop paying for athletic team trips to away games as early as next year.

The board had its first reading of the changes at its Monday meeting and could vote on the measure by their next meeting on Aug. 12. 

Bill Briscoe, assistant superintendent, said removing a couple of paragraphs from the beginning of policy 8640 — which regulates field trips and other district-sponsored trips — could cut those funds in the future.

“We have no intent to change anything we’re doing this year. We’re just trying be proactive and put something down that will give us more flexibility in the future,” Briscoe said.

Fred McWhorter, chief business officer, said the language of the current policy doesn’t allow for outside groups or agencies to pay for some of those trips, but mandates the district to fund them. He said that’s gotten expensive.

“The last couple of years, we’ve spent $125,000 on athletic travel,” McWhorter said. “Now at some point in the future, maybe there’s a shared cost ... but this is flexibility for the future.”

Briscoe said the change won’t affect students this year. But Brad Snyder, deputy superintendent, said other districts across the state have already had to make drastic moves to rein in those kinds of costs.

He said state property tax caps are to blame for those kinds of changes in school districts.

“Again, all of this is an outgrowth of circuit breakers, which everybody gets tired of hearing about,” Snyder said. “And out here in Floyd county, we’re lightly or modestly affected by circuit breakers. Today, we are.”

Briscoe said as funding continues to prove problematic for the district, the option to have another line to cut out of budgets could help balance the books in the future.

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