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School board approves $149 million budget

A $149 million budget for 2010-2011 was approved by the District 833 School Board on March 18 that includes changes discussed by the board on March 4.

Instead of decreasing high school and middle school class sizes by an average of one student, which would add 6.5 teachers, 5.6 discretionary positions will be added to allow more flexibility in where teachers will be placed by Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Randy Zipf.

There is also one additional discretionary teacher for secondary and one at the elementary level so an additional class can be added if enrollment is too high.

If the teachers are not needed, the money will be returned to the general fund, Superintendent Mark Porter said.

With no additional state funding, the district would have a $6 million deficit next year, according to Finance Director Aaron Bushberger.

The board approved $850,746 in cuts and will not contribute $2.5 million to the retirement fund, which is already fully funded, bringing the deficit down to $4.5 million. The money will come from the district's $22 million fund balance.

If nothing changes in revenue and expenses, the fund balance will be used up by 2012-2013, Bushberger said.

Budget assumptions include no increase in enrollment, state aid and interest on investments and a 5 percent increase in tuition and utilities.

Money for unsettled employee contracts is estimated to increase 2 percent.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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