Duluth School Board Makes Tough Choices

By KBJR News 1

December 13, 2010 Updated Dec 13, 2010 at 11:03 PM CDT

A one-point-one million dollar budget deficit has the Duluth School district scrambling for options on how to resolve the million dollar shortfall.

At this point everything is on the table, from consolidating classes, to laying off teachers.

The one-point-one million dollar shortfall was caused by a variety of circumstances, first and foremost declining enrollment within the district.

For every student the state pitches in a set amount of money, so less students equals less cash.

Also to balance the states budget Governor Tim Pawlenty deferred payments of nearly 2-billion dollars to school districts across the state.

Duluth School District Business Manager Bill Hanson says they're looking at every option to rectify the budget shortfall.

"We're also looking at buil1ding administration, we're also looking at district administration, we're also looking at all other certified and non-certified staff positions."

However, the deficit won't disappear in one fell swoop.

District officials say clearing up the entire shortfall in one year would cause major disruptions in the class room.

So they're planning on cutting roughly of half of the deficit and transferring the other half to the 2011-2012 school year.

School Board Member Art Johnston questioned the administration on why the deficit wasn't noticed sooner.

"I expect to be notified ahead of time by the administration that there is something going on here and things aren't all honky dory as was presented at the last board meeting."

More concrete options on balancing the budget deficit will come later this week.

But no matter what the choices are they say they're going to be difficult.