District 9 will cut 12 days by June; 36 staff in 2009-10

School District 9 is planning to cut up to 12 school days between now and the end of school, due to a lack of funds.

“All district employees will be impacted by these cuts,” said Superintendent Cynda Rickert.

A preliminary revenue report from the state is due to be released on Friday, Feb. 20 and all indicators point to an even greater financial problem.

The district’s financial picture looks like this:

First, the district has already cut $2.1 million in the budget and frozen expenditures.

The most recent state economic forecast shows a $657 million shortage. This translates to a decrease of funds for School District 9 for as much as $1.9 million. Forecasts show the state deficit could be $800 million. According to Dr. Dan Zaklan, director of business services for School District 9, “It is likely that we will have to cut an additional $1.9 to $2.8 million or more yet this year (for a total of $4.9 million or approximately 11 % of this year’s budget.)

In a letter to staff, Rickert said, “the only way we can meet this challenge without reducing staff this year, is to cut school days.” Each school day cut save the district about $100,000. It would take 28 days to cut $2.8 million, which Rickert pointed out, “is clearly unacceptable in such a short period of time from now to June.”  Cutting 12 days would save $1.2 million.

The district plans to dip into its cash carryover for next year after the $1.2 million is used up.

In addition to cutting days, Rickert said there is a need to cut 36 positions for the 2009-10 year.  Rickert said the goal is to notify all staff members who will be impacted by spring break.  “Let me be clear that this may be only the beginning of budget reductions, including position cuts, if the state’s budget forecasts continue to decline. After the Feb. 20 forecast, there is one due out in May.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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