Elmore Co. Schools optimistic about financial future

WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - Things are slowly looking up financially for the Elmore County School System.  The superintendent told WSFA 12 News the system may be able to avoid any more layoffs of teachers and staff.  But that doesn't mean things are all rosy.

The system's Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Middleton says the system will lose of millions in stimulus money this fiscal year, and property tax receipts are also down.

"It's going to be another tight year, the training wheels have to come off," Middleton said.

But  those losses should be offset by a projected increase in sales tax revenues and a decrease in personnel costs.  Fewer people work for the system now, and those who do will have to pay more into their retirement plans.   And that's a big reason why school leaders project the system will end next year with its current reserves intact.

"We plan on going into the year with $4.8 million, and ending the year with $4.8 million, kind of breaking even."

The system cut 36 teacher and staff positions earlier this year, and system leaders said the budget cuts made over the past few years have had an effect on the classroom.

"We've had to trim programs, lose units, employees, so certainly that has an impact," said Jeff Langham, Superintendent for Elmore County Schools.  "We've seen some larger class sizes this year, that we worked really hard to avoid and work around."

Langham is optimistic that another round of proration won't be ordered this year.   But he says in the meantime, the system has to run a tight financial ship.

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