By Nathan Baker
Carter County Schools Director Kevin Ward criticized County Mayor Leon Humphrey’s veto Thursday afternoon of the 2013-2014 budget resolution, saying he fears it could mean additional cuts to the school system’s already tight budget.
“Basically, we’re disappointed by it, because we came in this year with a balanced budget and we didn’t ask the county for any new funds,” Ward said at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. “We bought our own school buses, we replaced three roofs this summer, we completed several minor and medium renovation projects, all without asking for any extra money.”
Humphrey justified his veto Thursday by citing what he believes was a violation of state law committed during the budgeting process, but he also recommended seeking alternatives to the 18-cent property tax rate increase approved Monday by the Carter County Commission.
Ward said those alternatives could mean slashing the school system’s funding, a topic of frequent discussion among officials while the municipality’s finances were being sorted.
“Some people have stated that the school system is capable of making more cuts, but at this point in time, I think it’s well documented that we’ve already made $2.3 million in cuts over the last two years,” the director said. “We cut 35 professional positions, saving $1.7 million, and we’ve cut a lot of other items, too.”