Duluth School Board Approves Tentative Budget, Needing $5.7-Million in Cuts

By KBJR News 1

Duluth School Board Approves Tentative Budget, Needing $5.7-Million in Cuts

March 16, 2011 Updated Mar 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Duluth public school board voted to move forward with a tentative budget, requiring $5.7-million dollars in cuts for the 2012 fiscal year.

The deficit isn't quite as high as administration expected. The district originally thought they were dealing with a $7.3-million dollar deficit, but found out health insurance costs are down eight percent.

The board considered cuts through reducing technology expenses, increasing the student/teacher staffing ratio, cutting costs to athletics, reducing media specialists and using money from the Federal Jobs Fund, among other items.

The board is waiting for an additional review regarding administration cuts at both the district and school level, and ways to support schools with an achievement gap.

The superintendent says they are trying to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as they can.

"That's getting harder and harder every year because we've been doing that for a long time. I've been in Minnesota 16 years, as a superintendent, and we've had budget cuts every year, so this is not good," said superintendent Keith Dixon.

District officials say the tentative budget gives direction for the final budget.

After more review, the budget will be finalized in June.

The board also approved to borrow $19.5 million dollars to pay the district's bills, and that's because the state of Minnesota has delayed aid it owes the district, so the state can balance its own budget.

For the past three fiscal years, including the current one, the state has delayed $51-million dollars in aid.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike