For the past two years, budget time has been synonymous with cuts and reductions for the Warren County School District.
That streak, however, might be coming to an end.
Superintendent Brandon Hufnagel painted a relatively optimistic picture of the 2013-2014 budget to the Finance Committee last week.
An official preliminary budget won't be released until January; but Hufnagel said that revenues will be approximately $66,141,339 while expenditures will come in, "right around 70 million."
While a $3.8 million starting structural deficit is significant, "we started (at) $5.2 (million) last year. (We're) $1.4 million ahead of last year. Don't let that number scare you," Hufnagel said.
Hufnagel said that the board will have to make a decision whether or not to prepare a preliminary budget. The board has two options: pass a resolution indicating that taxes won't be raised above the state-allowable index or prepare a preliminary budget, leaving the board the option to raise taxes above the index via referendum if needed.
"In January, we're going to have to make that decision," he said, emphasizing that the $3.8 million deficit is a, "worst case scenario."
But that doesn't mean that there still aren't questions to be answered.
"One thing out there that we can't determine right now (is) what the state will do with their funding," Hufnagel explained. He indicated that he is assuming flat level funding in his planning. "That's what they've done the last two years," he said.
Hufnagel also expressed concern regarding a state rule known as hold harmless.
A provision installed to protect rural districts, hold harmless has, for every year but this year, en-