"If this happens, it is possible that the money could come from SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) or from a combination of sources," she said. "We did ask the school systems what the effect would be of a 4 percent reduction in SEEK, but there is more than one scenario."
SEEK is the primary funding mechanism for public education that includes money for transportation and special-needs education.
One of the other areas that could be cut is Flexible Focus Funds. This includes money for professional development, extended school services, textbooks and pre-school. Cuts already were made to many of these areas at the beginning of the year.
Boyle County Superintendent Steve Burkich, whose district stands to lose $540,000 in SEEK money with a 4 percent reduction, said many districts likely will be scrambling for ways to cut costs at this late date.
"Budgets were made, and we are halfway through the year, so you are looking for any way you can cut," he said. "We are probably not going to be able to buy buses this year, and the district should be purchasing about two a year. There also are some technological and facilities upgrades that we will not be able to do."
School systems are required by the state to maintain a contingency fund of 2 percent of their total budget.
Finances for the coming year
Danville Independent Superintendent Bob Rowland said, with a contingency hovering right above the state minimum, it is next year's finances that are the most troubling.
"Obviously we are going to have to make some cuts and will try to do the least harm to our existing program," he said.
"Our biggest concern is staffing and budgeting for next year. When 78 percent of your budget is staffing, you may have to look at reductions and layoffs in the future."
Rowland said that part of Danville's report will include recommendations.
"The budget language calls for a 2 percent raise for teachers next year, which we would like to see happen," he said. "But under the current conditions, it doesn't appear possible and it amounts to an unfunded mandate. We think it is important that they understand that."
Burgin Independent Superintendent Richard Webb thinks the impending cuts show an inability for Frankfort to deal with harsh realities.
"I am extremely disappointed that our legislature would craft a budget based on a best-case scenario," he said. "It is ludicrous to run any business like that, let alone a government."
Joy Campbell, finance director for Mercer County Schools, said officials in her district are still meeting to identify possible hardships of the funding cuts.
"We have been contemplating this individually and will be meeting with the administrative and department heads to hear their concerns," she said. "Four percent out of our state monies is equal to about $516,000 for us."
Representatives for Lincoln and Garrard County schools said their districts also are still developing responses to Draud's message.
Webb believes a sustained drop in funding for education could make the goals laid out by the state impossible.
"Any further cuts in education are going to directly hurt students," he said.
"You cannot expect schools to move toward proficiency (by 2014) if you continue to do this. Everybody has cut everything they can to protect the classroom, but now I think you are going to start to see learning affected directly."