Draft school budget cuts almost 12% from last year

The school district's draft budget for next year proposes $660,000 in total reductions in teacher payroll, funding for special education instruction, supplies and materials for the classroom, student activities and other categories to bring spending closer to projected revenues.

Projected revenues for the 2021-2022 school year are roughly $4.88 million in state, municipal and federal funds, a decrease of about $800,000 from the approved budget for the current school year.

The drop in revenue can largely be attributed to a decrease in state foundation funding, which is based on student enrollment numbers. The district predicts an enrollment of about 259 students next year, a decrease from 300 in past years. The current enrollment is about 200, as many students during the pandemic are homeschooling or enrolled in correspondence programs outside the district.

In addition to spending reductions, the draft budget proposes withdrawing $131,000 from the district's reserve account to cover the bills, taking down the reserve from an estimated fiscal year-end balance in June 2021 to $494,000 in June 2022.

The draft budget includes about a 9% cut in salary spending for certificated staff (mostly teachers), saving $145,000. Spending on special education instruction would be cut about one-third; student activities funding would be scaled back by $66,000, about 25%; and the budget for supplies and materials would be down $50,000, about 40%.

The school district did not respond to repeated requests for information on the draft budget.


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