Indian River School District Announces $3 Million in Cuts to New - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Indian River School District Announces $3 Million in Cuts to New Budget

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SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - At the Indian River School District, administrators told WBOC that they were cutting “discretionary” funding from the budget by approximately $3 million in the 2016 school year. The decision was made in order to free up funding for more teachers, in order to deal with on-going growth in the district. 

"We have had a number of things that have happened in the district,” said Superintendent Dr. Susan Bunting. “That have gradually eroded our reserves. And so we want to makes sure that we keep our reserve at a very safe level for our students and our staff’s benefits.” 

Bunting said the discretionary money in question was essentially the money left-over after salaries and other mandatory programs. Of the discretionary funding available, 20 percent of the athletics funding was cut, 30 percent of all school funding was cut, and 50 percent of the central office funding was cut. Bunting said that these cuts would not impact salaries, and so jobs are not on the line. However she said the cuts could mean less school resources, trips, and events. 

Bunting said that the cuts were a “short-term” fix for the ongoing problem of growth in the district. She said that in the last decade, the population has jumped by approximately 25 percent. Eventually Bunting said that a “long-term fix” would be needed, which she said would likely be a referendum for higher taxes to fund the increase in general operations. 

At Sussex Central High School, which has the largest population, Principal Bradley Layfield said that their discretionary funding had been reduced by approximately $50,000 to nearly $126,000. 

"Most of what the teachers order,” he said. “As far as teaching supplies go - from office depot - when it comes to ordering pens, paper, classroom supplies you can think of - we’re doing a big reduction. In the amount of paper we’re trying to process.”

Layfield said that teacher travel will be greatly impacted, saying that teachers will likely not be allowed to travel for conferences in the new school year. 

"These budget cuts should not necessarily be felt by the students,” he said. "It’s mostly some of the conveniences that we in public education sometimes grow used to. We just are going to have to learn how to be better stewards of the taxpayers funds.” 

According to Bunting, another reason for the decreasing amount of money available is that the district has invested a large amount into security over the last half-decade. Bunting said that the district now has a School Safety Monitor in ever school, as well as various School Resource Officers. She said these security measures cost the district $1.2 million per year. 

The overall school budget this year is approximately $44 million.  

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