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February 14, 2020

I consider Cheyenne Public Schools to be one of the leading Educational institutions in not only Western Oklahoma, but across this great state. We have dedicated teachers and support staff who care and love our students.

The Cheyenne Board of Education has invested in me to navigate our school system through a very difficult financial time. My mission is to maintain highly qualified teachers, to be fiscally responsible with our tax dollars, and to provide a safe and stable environment giving all students the ability to achieve at a high level. This financial planning not only included last year, but current year adjustments, and strategies for the next three to five years.

I would like to share the economic trends we are experiencing that are driving our revenues and expenditures.

A large part of the CPS budget is dependent on Gross Production, and we are continuing to see the impact of lower prices on oil and gas tax that directly affects collections. Our revenue from this source alone is down $266,203 from one year ago today, and at this rate will be down at least $400,000 for the year. This puts us in a twenty-year low of collecting Gross Production taxes.

A second source of local revenue affecting our budget this year is our Ad Valorem appropriation which is down for the second year in a row. This is mainly stemming from the reductions of the Wind Energy Sector's valuations. Last year it fell $136,451 and this year we were appropriated $115, 166 less. Another problem in collecting Ad Valorem has been the ongoing $190,060 tax protest by DCP (Devon Conoco Phillips). This is a loss of $441,677 over just two years' time and will continue until resolved.

We cut over $400,000 from our expenses last year which included one support employee, stipends, and expenditures for bus and vehicle replacements. This year we reduced staff by one and one-half certified positions and one bus route position. At this time, we expect our carryover to decrease by $500,000 this year alone. The carry over balance we have will help us continue to minimize the loss of employment while we adjust to the changing economics of the current times.

Cheyenne Public Schools funding is unique and does not reflect the ideas presented by state leadership, law makers, or the OSDE for Oklahoma schools funding formula. For these reasons, Cheyenne Public Schools must maintain a healthy carry over balance because our financial picture can change drastically in one year's time, or multiple years, as we are now experiencing.

We must continue to remember that there are rewards after working through challenging times. Being able to reflect and acknowledge that your effort, trials, and tribulations were the experiences that helped us to be successful. We sometimes forget that being pushed to do our best causes anxieties and fears. Helping our youth through these learning processes is one of the great rewards of Teaching.

This emotional feeling is the same no matter how experienced at life one may be!

Thank you for the opportunity in helping CPS continue to be "Committed to Excellence."