Final negotiations on Carmel schools' budget linger late into the night

Wednesday night was just the latest example of how intense negotiations have been between board members and taxpayers as they battle over how to slash more than $5 million in spending for next year.

Jonathan Gordon

Apr 24, 2024, 8:00 PM

Updated 30 days ago

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Like most of the meetings for the last few months, Wednesday night's Carmel Board of Education meeting might make it to early Thursday morning.
As of 10 p.m., the board was back in executive session after hearing more than an hour of public comment and responding to questions.
Wednesday night was just the latest example of how intense negotiations have been between board members and taxpayers as they battle over how to slash more than $5 million in spending for next year.
The board entered the night down to just three options. None of the remaining choice would use any of the fund balance to dig the district out of its multimillion-dollar budget deficit.
According to board documents posted online, "Option A" would cut spending by $5.4 million and increase the tax levy by 1.34%. Potential cuts would include nurses, overtime as well as several teachers. "Option B" would cut spending by $5.3 million and carry a 1.43% tax increase. The only difference between "Option A" and "Option B" is the latter adds back in a media relations specialist position.
"Option C" carries the biggest financial impacts. It would cut spending by $6.7 million and carry a .01% tax cut. It's "Option A" but has additional cuts to field trips, a change in security vendors, clubs, athletics, and facility personnel.
An auditor publicly revealed the financial crisis facing the district several months ago. He said years of overspending, under-taxing, and the loss of federal COVID relief aid all contributed to this situation.
The board is still expected to approve a budget late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. Once that's done, taxpayers will go to the polls to either pass or reject this budget in less than a month on May 21.


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