ENID — Enid Public Schools Board of Education met in its regular meeting Monday and, among other business, learned a projected budget shortfall for the current fiscal year has swelled to more than $1 million.
EPS chief financial officer Karl White notified the board in its March meeting the district likely would finish the fiscal year with a loss of approximately $660,000 due to a state revenue failure announced Feb. 21.
As a result of the revenue failure, the state board of education revised the common education budget to reflect $50.2 million in new cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, which concludes June 30.
Monday night, White reported to the board that additional reductions in state aid to the district projected through the remainder of April, May and June likely would increase the projected district shortfall to $1.05 million at the end of June.
“We are in a bit of a situation,” White said.
White said projections for state aid in the next fiscal year likely will result in a 3-5 percent reduction in district funding, which would equate to a $1 million to $1.5 million cut to district funding for fiscal year 2018.
White said he will present the board with an expenditure reduction plan in the May board meeting to account for those projected shortfalls in the next fiscal year. White said those plans could include reducing staff numbers and saving “on as many expenditures as possible.”
In other business, the board approved a 100-year lease of land from Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid for construction of a collaborative four-classroom early childhood development center.
EPS already leases a single classroom on the NWOSU-Enid campus to provide early childhood education space and to provide NWOSU-Enid students hands-on classroom experience.
The lease agreement approved Monday evening will expand on that collaborative agreement, providing the land needed to construct a pre-K classroom building approved by EPS district voters last February in a package of almost $93 million in bond issues.
The project, with an estimated cost of $1,137,600, will be operated and staffed by EPS and provide NWOSU education students an on-campus site in which to gain classroom experience.
The lease with NWOSU-Enid is for a term of 100 years, from May 1, 2017, until April 30, 2117, for a total of $100 prepaid rent. If construction of the building has not begun by May 1, 2019, the lease shall be terminated.
The board also on Monday saw architect’s renderings and a presentation from Heath Tate of MA+ Architects, the contracted architecture firm for the new competition gymnasium and performing arts center, also approved by voters last February.
The gymnasium and fine arts center, which will be constructed south of the existing University Center, bear estimated costs of $13.7 million and $9.7 million, respectively.
Tate said his firm still is working with engineers and contractors to finalize a plan that will maximize space in the new facilities within the confines of the budget.
The school board approved $1.6 million in encumbrances from the bond fund Monday night. The largest portion of those planned encumbrances was $1.2 million for an addition to Taft Elementary School, which was part of the overall bond package.
Board members approved in their March meeting a construction management at-risk contract with Henson Construction to build a four-classroom addition at Taft with a guaranteed maximum price of $1,217,404.
The board also approved a construction contract to expand the parking lot at Prairie View Elementary School. Rick Lorenz Construction submitted the winning bid at a cost of $129,518.
Bids also were submitted by Ellsworth Construction, of Tulsa, $228,840; Phoenix Diversified, of Enid, $139,850; and Hembree & Hodgson Construction, of Ponca City, $225,077.
The next regular meeting of the Enid Board of Education is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 15 in the EPS Administrative Services Center board room at 500 S. Independence.