As advertised by the local rumor mill, results released at this weeks school board meeting showed the district lost $900,000 this fiscal year according to interim Superintendent Dorothy Nave, much of it attributed to state budget cuts; Laurel receives 80% of their funding from the state.
Ed Siebert, Laurel’s volunteer financial consultant while its finance director is on leave (been inhospial for a months with twins born early) said, “bad budgeting” at the state level was ‘causing the downfall of this district.”
A large part of Laurel’s problem is the slow growth in development causing a very low tax base. For example a one-cent tax increase in the Laurel district raises only $11,000. Those of you who thought al these years when I said Laurel needed a larger tax base and those of you who fought growth, take this piece of information and stuff it. Live in your comfortable home while the youth in our community suffer from your backwardness.
The district was about $250,000 in the red when Nave took the reigns and began her austerity measures which include; no further spending until a top-down financial review is complete; positions not grant-funded or based on student counts will not be filled or they come open.
Still officials say her measures are just stopgap measures buying some time. Siebert, the business director at the Sussex Technical School District says “Unless we do something dramatically different, we are not making payroll in April.”
Like it or not it is becoming evident Laurel should do like businesses do when they need a cash flow, merge or consolidate.