"I heard sadness" $6 million deficit means major budgets cuts to Putnam County school district

Board officials say it comes from years of overspending and a combination of not raising taxes, COVID-19 relief funding ending, and an increase in operations costs all contributed to this issue.

Katerina Belales

Mar 13, 2024, 10:48 AM

Updated 71 days ago

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Tensions ran high Tuesday night at Carmel High School as parents expressed their concerns and frustration over the at least a $6 million deficit the district faces heading into next year.
Board officials say it comes from years of overspending and a combination of not raising taxes, COVID-19 relief funding ending, and an increase in operations costs all contributed to this issue.
Documents posted on the district's website show it now plans to make multiple cuts to jobs, after-school activities, and other district programs.
The board is also considering additional cuts that would offset the need to raise taxes 3.5% - the most allowed under state law.
“The Board of Ed was supposed to be representing us, we the people, and they failed to do their job," says Tatiana Ibrahim, parent.
While some board members blamed the issues on taxes, others joined district parents in their concerns and acknowledged decades of financial mismanagement.
"Overwhelmingly I heard sadness. Yes, I heard anger but I also heard heartbreak over what we're hearing may be taken away from our children," James Wise, trustee, Carmel Schools Board of Education, said. "I want to emphasize that there are amazing people doing amazing work here, but the way the district's finances have been run has endangered that work."
The board president says all choices will be made with students' best interests in mind.
"Our decisions are based on what our students face in the future and making sure we're providing them with the programs that they have and to meet those challenges," says Dawn Dall, Carmel Board of Education president.
If you didn't get the chance to attend last night's meeting -- the district will be holding two more on the budget proposal.
The first is on Thursday. The second is on Monday.


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