CANNELTON – Though Cannelton Schools is financially solvent, school leaders are still finding the road ahead could be bumpy.

Superintendent Al Sibbitt puts much of that bleak outlook stemming from the state level. “The school funding formula in the rural areas has not been increasing with state support,” Sibbitt said. “As a result, not many school corporations have had salary increases for five to seven years – or if so, nominal increases.”

Cannelton recently gave raises to put teachers back to 2012 rates after cuts years ago.

Sibbitt also complained the state is cutting money from schools most in need. “Last I saw, they’re trying to reduce funding for school corporations that have low income. It’s all designed to do two things – one, build up in the suburbs and, two, try to consolidate small schools into one corporation,” he continued.

Sibbitt complained the reduction seems to stem from political parties “wanting only one school corporation per county.”

The reduction is also tied to areas that are not only rural, but with low income, he added, where the state divides the funding unfairly so that wealthy areas receive more.

This came along with a discussion about teacher vacancies at the school. Cannelton has had some difficulty finding a math teacher over the last few years, as the person recently considered for the 2019-20 mathematics position has declined. “There’s a tremendous shortage in Indiana,” Sibbitt said, “primarily mathematics teachers, science teachers and special education teachers. Now we’re also getting a shortage of English teachers.” He explained at one time there was a tremendous surplus of elementary teachers, “but that well is drying, too.”

When addressing the current finances for the school corporation, Sibbitt also pointed out the operations fund is in the red, with a deficit of about $142,300. He reminded the board that since all state money is now deposited into every school’s education fund, it is up to the individual school corporations to distribute those resources accordingly. The school corporation has the funding, but it is currently in the educations fund, where all state money is initially deposited.

The education fund is at an approximate $428,900.

“Some schools transfer money every month,” Sibbitt said, “but for ease, (Cannelton School Corp.) will transfer from the education fund to the operations fund once every six months.” Once the money transfers in June, the school operations fund will be in the black.

Copyright 2020