YOUNGSTOWN SCHOOLS District treasurer expects expenses to exceed revenues

She said she should have hard numbers within a few weeks.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The final numbers aren't in yet, but it looks like it will be a very tight year for Youngstown city schools.
Carolyn Funk, district treasurer, said it will be a couple of weeks before final figures are available, but she gave the school board a sobering snapshot of district finances Tuesday.
Expenditures are expected to run about $120 million, she said. Revenues, however, are expected to be only in the $105 million to $106 million range.
The district is starting the school year with about $12 million in the general fund and other accounts but is already tapping into that money, Funk said.
She was responding to questions from the board about district finances.
The school board needs to know where it stands financially and what it can afford, said board member Lock Beachum Sr., asking Funk for some hard numbers.
Programs in question
Youngstown has created a lot of programs this year, and the board needs to know if the district has the money to fund them, added John Maluso, who heads up the board's finance committee.
The time may arrive when cuts have to be made, and the board needs to be ready to address that issue, he added.
Michael Write, board vice president, agreed that the board must look closely at finances, but he also cautioned that the district must give the new educational initiatives a chance to work.
It's going to be close, but the district should be able to make it through this year, Funk said.
Getting final, accurate salary information is one of the problems in preparing budget figures, she said, noting that some new teachers are in the classrooms but have yet to be added to the payroll list.
She told the board that hard numbers will be ready for the October board meeting.
Contract awaiting renewal
Dr. Wendy Webb, superintendent, said uncertainty about budget figures prompted her to withdraw a resolution from Tuesday's board agenda calling for renewal of a contract with United Methodist Community Center for a Community Leaders Initiative that puts counselors in all of the schools.
The center provides referral assessments for families and students and works on absenteeism and other issues.
The old contract for $543,000 has expired but has been extended while a new contract set at $547,000 is being reviewed.
Webb said she wants to reverify one of the funding sources before presenting the contract to the board for approval, and Maluso said his finance committee wants more details on those sources as well.
Funk said the proposed budget for the contract shows $108,500 coming from the general fund and the rest from state and federal grant funds.
On a positive note, Webb reported that student enrollment is up by about 700 over the close of school in the spring.
Current enrollment stands at 9,237, she told the board, well above the 8,500 enrolled at the end of the 2003-04 school year and ahead of the 9,000 enrolled at this time last fall.
Webb said she hadn't anticipated the increase but speculated that the district's new academic programs and major school changes implemented this fall may have been a factor.
People are aware that the district is trying very hard to turn academics around, she said.
Youngstown dropped back from academic watch to academic emergency status in the state's latest school report card ratings.

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