Brown County Schools’ general fund will be undercut $500,000 because fewer students are enrolling in the system. The general fund goes toward teacher salaries and various programs. BCS was faced with a similar crisis during the 2016-2017 school year when an estimated $500,000 of the budget was not available due to lower enrollment.
Enrollment numbers in the system have dropped a significant amount. “Our enrollment is looking down as compared to what we were even expecting so we’re concerned about that,” Superintendent Dr. Laura Hammack said. For the 2017-2018 school year, Brown County Schools had 1878 students enrolled. This year, the number has dropped a staggering 89 students, with a current 1789 students enrolled.
During the previous budget issue, the School Board avoided issuing Reduction in Force, or RIF notices. RIF notices are sent to staff members which announce that they would no longer be employed for the next school year. To save money in the budget, the School Board decided to use attrition. Attrition is a system in which less important, open positions are not filled, and the more important positions are filled with individuals already employed by BCS, if possible.
This year, the School Board has opted to continue attrition, and avoid issuing RIF notices. “We hate to do that, that’s a terrible process and so the board does not want to do that.” Dr. Hammack Said.
Bartholomew County just started a ‘virtual online program’ which Dr. Hammack expressed interest in, as the program allows for homeschooled students to receive education online while being considered students in BCS; meaning that the system would receive funding for their enrollment. “We’re really trying to look at some innovative ways to keep kids in the system.” Dr. Hammack Said.