The Warren County School Board has a heap of work to do and not much time to do it.
Between now and the end of next month the board must come up with a budget that is balanced without exceeding the limit on property tax increase that would trigger a state-mandated referendum.
The current shortfall stands at an estimated $7.2 million, which is roughly 10 percent of this year's budget. At least that's the target expenditure reductions the board has set for itself.
If you've ever found yourself short on cash and forced to refigure your own household budget, you know that 10 percent is more than it sounds like.
To this end, the superintendent's budget team has presented the board with a list of more than four dozen options for reductions and increased revenue. They range from small things like, charging $1 per phone blast (estimated revenue, $5000), to big ticket reductions, like a salary freeze for all employees ($1.4 million in savings).
On Wednesday night, during a special meeting, the board indicated it wants to maintain a fund balance of 5 percent of its total budget
The list of financial adjustments is like a Chinese menu on steroids. The board can simply go down its priority list in order of pre-determined preference and cut off at that point where the goal is reached. Or, it can order ala carte.
Which ever course is taken, there will be some hard decisions to be made and we don't envy the work.
The bottom line, however, should be reaching the monetary goal with the least possible negative affect on learning.