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School board eyes cuts

After a meeting filled with mostly good news, District 192 finance director Jeff Priess had to deliver a little bad news Monday night. Priess told board members the district will have to make cuts to balance its budget.

Current projections show the district with $52,125,830 in expenditures for the 2010-11 school year and $52,564,624 in expenditures. That's a difference of $436,794 -- about .8 percent of expenditures.

Priess said the budget shortfall is due in part to continued flat funding from the state of Minnesota, which provides the 82 percent of the district's revenue, and in part to student enrollments that, while they're growing, they are not growing as quickly as expected. The district's enrollment for 2009-10 is 6,405. The projected enrollment for 2010-11 is 6,566.

"We continue to see growth, just not as fast as it has been in the past," Priess said.

Things could get worse. With the state continuing to face budget troubles of its own the district will have to decide whether its assumption of continued flat funding from the state is a little too optimistic.

Priess said discussions of cuts will start with a target of $100 cut per pupil unit -- a weighted measure of the number of students in the district. The district's 6,566 students in 2010-11 would amount to 7,666 pupil units.

The district started developing its 2010-11 budget assumptions in October. Between now and March there will be continued discussion and from March to April there will be a presentation of funding options. The board would approve a preliminary budget in May.

There has been no public discussion yet of what would be cut, but salaries make up about 86 percent of the district's budget.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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