Cash over administrative positions is Indian River district’s position

DAGSBORO – Indian River School District has chosen purchasing power for necessities over administrative positions for which it has qualified for state funding.

With the district’s growing enrollment at 10,171 as of the Sept. 30 student count, Indian River qualified for funding for two assistant superintendents and five supervisor positions.

Instead, the district plans to swap those two unfilled positions – assistant superintendent, $67,499; and supervisor, $54,079 – for money totaling $121,578.

“We’re entitled to administrative positions and as long as the positions are not filled for any part of the time during the school year, we can convert those to cash,” said Patrick Miller, finance director for the Indian River district.

This exchange carries a stipulation that “those dollars that are received cannot be utilized to pay salaries, but they can be utilized to acquire anything else.” That list would include such things as books, supplies, or purchasing power for other needs so long as it is outside the realm of salaries, Mr. Miller said.

The district submitted its request prior to the Jan. 31 deadline as stated in state code – to the Delaware Department of Education. The board of education formally approved the request at its Feb. 1 meeting.

As of Feb. 8, the Delaware Department of Education had not yet approved it, Mr. Miller said. “Once they do then they will transfer the dollars. They will verify that the positions haven’t been occupied, etc.,” he said.

Funding comes from the state’s general fund.  “It’s given to us in state funds and then we probably will recode it. We can either recode it to ‘local’ or instead of buying something with local funds we will use those dollars.”

Mr. Miller said that as a result of the district’s 1996 referendum, the Indian River district made “a commitment to the public for a period of six years. At that time we were only entitled to one assistant superintendent and the pledge was we would convert into cash every year; we would not fill that position. But as the growth has come, we’ve become entitled to more positions so ultimately we did fill the positions and we have periodically cashed some in over a number of years. It might not be the assistant superintendent, it might be a director or maybe a supervisor or a combination there of.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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