Leader Blues

Monday, July 31, 2006

TOP STORY>>Cabot, PCSSD get less money

Leader staff writer

Cabot and Pulaski County Special School District are receiving less state money this year than they did last year, while most other area districts are seeing a 2 percent increase.

Hazen School District is getting almost an extra million dollars, or a 64 percent increase over last year. In financial figures recently released by the state Education Department, Cabot is set to receive $41,315,234 in state aid for the 2006-2007 school year, down more than $450,000 from the $41,772,029 it received for the 2005-2006 school year.

Overall, it’s a drop of about 2 percent. PCSSD’s state money dropped more than $2 million, going from $63,798,765 for the 2005-2006 school year to $61,523,013 for the 2006-2007 school year, a drop of about 3.6 percent. School districts can receive state money in 15 different categories. Most of the funds—75 to 80 percent—a district receives are from the State Foundation Funding Aid category. Most that money goes to thedistrict as unrestricted money that the district can use as it sees fit or as necessary. Most of the other funding categories such as alternative learning environment, professional devel-opment and English language learners are restricted to special uses. Cabot is picking up about $2 million more in State Foundation Funding Aid this year, but student growth funding has gone from $2.2 million last year to zero this year.

The school district’s alternative learning environment funding has also gone from $446,550 to zero. In PCSSD, the State Foundation Funding Aid is down about $800,000. The district also lost all of its student growth funding, alternative learning environment money and English language learnersfund, totaling about $700,000. Beebe is seeing about a 1 percent increase in funding, to $14,584,636. Lonoke is getting a 1.6 percentincrease, going from $8,935,670last year to $9,086,142 for this school year. England will see a 1.8 percent increase in school funding, going from $4,430,749 to $4,510,597, while Carlisle and Des Arc will both see about a $2.8 percent increase.