The Wayne County School District ended the 2007-2008 school year with a

deficit of nearly $400,000, according to school officials. Following

completion of the Annual Financial Report recently, the district issued a

statement noting a $386,434 deficit, which officials said is slightly higher

than they had projected following a mid-year decrease in funding, as well as

escalating fuel costs.

Officials had projected a $341,668 deficit after facing the mid-year

funding shortage, that prompted staff layoffs as well as budgetary cuts in

several areas.

District officials stated this week that the decreases in funding were

attributable to a shortage of SEEK funding, mandated salary increases not

being fully funded by the legislature, and decreases in federal program

contributions.

"We have unapologetically tried for years to provide all that we can for

our students," said Wayne County Superintendent John Dalton in a statement

released Monday. "I believe that opportunities and services we provide for

our students are of utmost importance, and as a rural school district many

times it is up to us to provide these positive experiences for our

students."

The Wayne County School District was placed on the Kentucky Department

of Education's financial watch list about a year ago, after they ended the

2006-2007 school year with less than the mandated two percent contingency.

Lisa Gross, spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Education, said

that the purpose of the financial watch list is to give state officials a

better sense of what is going on in a district. She said that any district

who falls under the two percent contingency is put on the list, and KDE

officials monitor the district until a sufficient fund balance is achieved.

But Wayne County faced an even larger problem at mid-year, when the

district was informed it would receive about half a million dollars less

than was projected. The district began making cost reduction measures at

that time and has continued to make adjustments to reduce costs and increase

efficiency, according to this week's press release.

School officials stated that the working budget in place for the

2008-2009 school year reflects these changes which include reducing

administrative staff, reducing support staff, reducing days worked by all

year-round staff, reducing personal days for all staff by one, reducing

athletic/extracurricular activities and streamlining transportation routes.

Plus, the district expects to generate some additional revenue due to an

increasing student enrollment.

The Kentucky Board of Education will review the district's Annual

Financial Report on August 7 and Dalton expects that he will receive a plan

from them in regard to action the district needs to take.

Gross said that this does not mean that the district is under state

management or that any removal from office of board members will take place.

Instead she said the Kentucky Department of Education will visit with

financial staff of the district and will work to find out how the deficit

occurred.

"As long as there is no indication of criminal activity, and there is

none here, our role is to serve as an assistant and consultant to the

district," said Gross. "They have to get out of this deficit, and we have

people who will work to help them resolve the issues of this district...We

will be heavily involved in the financial world of the district."

Dalton noted that the school district has been in constant communication

with the Kentucky Education for the past year and they will continue to seek

guidance during this time to rebuild the district's financial strength.

"We welcome their support and assistance," he stated.

Gross said she was unaware of any other district in the state that has

finished the past year with a deficit, but she said that Kentucky Department

of Education officials would have a better idea of similar problems after

the new school year begins.

"These are tough budget times, and everybody is struggling," Gross said.



Wayne Co. receives nearly $30,000 in Land and Water Conservation Grant

Wayne County has been awarded a $27,731 Land and Water Conservation Fund

grant, according to Judge-Executive Greg Rankin. The money will be used at

the Monticello-Wayne County Memorial Park.

"This is great news for our county and will be a tremendous asset to the

park," stated Rankin. "I'm very pleased that we could secure money to make

some much needed and necessary improvements to one of the finest parks in

the entire state."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund project was a joint effort of the

local Community Development office and the Lake Cumberland Area Develop-ment

District. The project is funded through the Governor's Department of Local

Government.

Only $400,000 in grant money was available state-wide and Wayne County

was one of only nine projects to actually receive funding.

"We certainly want to work with the Area Development District on any and

every project that can bring money and opportunities to Wayne County. We

secured over $30,000 of radio equipment with their help earlier this year,

so we want to partner with the Lake Cumberland Area Development District

anytime we can," said Com-munity Development Specialist Shannon Hutchin-son.

The grant will allow the park to construct a maintenance building to

replace the current shed that has been used the past 30 years.

It also includes money for wood fiber safety surfacing for the

playgrounds, some new picnic tables and trash cans.

"Anytime we can improve our facilities at no cost to the local taxpayers

it is certainly a win-win situation," said Rankin. "Our park is one of the

largest attractions we have, so I'm thankful and appreciate the Governor,

along with the staff at Local Government, for their help on this project."

For questions or more details, feel free to call the County

Judge-Executive's office at (606) 348-4241 or check the county's website at

www.waynecounty.ky. gov.

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