The Claremore Public Schools Board of Education finalized and approved its projected budget for the 2012-2013 school year during Monday’s board meeting.
Board members approved the finalized $27.9 million budget in general fund revenue. That is an increase of $400,000 compared to last year, according to the annual budget report.
Oklahoma’s $6.7 billion state budget for 2011 was approved in May of 2010 and was $400 million, less than the previous year’s budget.
As a result of declined state revenue, lawmakers cut state agencey budgets by 7.5 percent midway through 2010 and lawmakers relied on a 35 percent cut to help balance the 2011 budget.
Still Oklahoma came up short and lawmakers additionally relied on a $500 million federal stimulus and $277 million in funds from the Constitutional Reserve Fund.
“Because of the declined revenue, Oklahoma schools have lost over $250 per student since June 2009, said Claremore Superintendent Michael McClaren.
With a general fund revenue of $27.9 million, the total expenditures this school year amount to $25.9 million which leaves more than $2 million dollars in the fund balance, according to the report.
“It is what it is,” said McClaren. “If the numbers add up we should be okay.”
He said in the past, revenue projections have been fairly accurate.
With over 500 certified teachers and employees, the monthly payroll for Claremore is over $1 million.
“Each year we have to pay for materials,” said McClaren. “The cost of buses increases 5 percent each year. Other goods and services have gone up as well.”
Because of the increase, Claremore schools had to reduce the school site budget by 50 percent.
McClaren said if the total revenue comes up short, they will have to reduce each school’s budget more to save money.
According to the state’s census, in 2000, Claremore’s population totaled 17,315. Ten years later the population increased to 22,545, which led to a growth in student enrollment.
In a letter regarding the annual budget report, McClaren wrote, “While there are annual fluctuations in student enrollment numbers, we still have an obligation to annually measure student academic progress to ensure that all groups of students — disaggregated by poverty, race and ethnicity, disability and limited English proficiency data--reach proficiency in reading and math in the 2013 and 2014 school year.”
He said even though Claremore schools are faced with financial challenges, service to the students will continue to be the primary goal.
Currently, Claremore’s ACT/SAT scores rank 24th in the state.