Carmel Board of Education closing in on budget proposal to erase multimillion-dollar deficit

According to documents posted online, the board is considering eight different budgetary scenarios.

Jonathan Gordon

Mar 28, 2024, 11:33 PM

Updated 19 days ago


The Carmel Board of Education met for a work session Thursday night in hopes of finalizing a budget that closes a multimillion-dollar deficit before next month's deadline.
During the meeting, the board considered nine different budget scenarios. Each one ranged from the fewest number of cuts which would be offset by a higher tax levy to the maximum number of cuts which could mean a tax deficit.
There were no agreements on any one scenario after nearly three hours.
"These things are being done or are being suggested because they have to. The math has to add up," Carmel Interim Superintendent of Schools Joseph McGrath said.
After a quick recess, board members drew hard lines on several key issues that they promised not to cut including kindergarten, field trips the Alternative High School, clubs, after-school activities, music and art.
The framework of the proposal would cut roughly a dozen teaching jobs, one administrator, and cut back on overtime.
The board was still weighing how much to raise the tax levy, if at all, and whether to use $1.1 million in the fund balance to offset raising taxes or other cuts. They also asked Interim Superintendent of Schools Joseph McGrath to go back to the unions and see if any concessions could be made particularly because student enrollment is down. McGrath indicated there's no more room to cut on the personnel side.
Earlier this month, a financial analyst told the Board of Education that it had been spending beyond its means for years. The district said underdelivered state aid, expiration of COVID relief funds, rising inflation and small tax levy increases for much of the last decade all contributed to this current financial issue.
Parents and taxpayers have come out in full force at the last few board meetings voicing their anger and concerns about the way the district spends their money.
On Thursday night, some parents backed the protections the board promised to give in the budget.
"We saved kindergarten and that can't ever be held over our heads ever again," Carmel parent Mary Ann Carpenter said.
Board members said they anticipate adopting a budget to go before the voters at their next meeting on Tuesday, April 16.

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