School district braces for less state aid in 2009-10

March 3, 2009

St. Francis School District officials are expecting less revenue from the state for the 2009-10 school year.

Business Manager Julie Kelly said the School Board will likely have to trim the budget by about $225,000. But numbers are preliminary because specifics on school funding in Gov. Jim Doyle's budget are unknown at this time, she said.

School officials are unsure if the per-pupil allocation from the state will increase or stay the same for 2009-10, but they are projecting at least a $225,000 deficit for next year.

"Because there is a large budget deficit at the state level, the governor may change current law and not give additional revenue per student," Kelly said.

The state typically increases the per-pupil payment to school districts each year, Kelly said. This year, St. Francis received about $274 more per pupil than it did the previous school year.

The district receives about $10,775 for each resident student and about $6,322 for Open Enrollment students, she said.

To cut the budget by $225,000, Kelly said the board could reduce a seventh-grade section and eliminate a paraprofessional. Four teachers are also scheduled to retire. Those positions would be filed with teachers making a lower salary, she said.

Depending on what happens at the state level, the district could be forced to snip its budget by $360,000, which would be "in the worst case scenario," Kelly said.

If the district has to slash its budget by $360,000, Kelly said two teachers are retiring at Willow Glen Primary School, and the board could choose not to replace those positions.

The district has not yet unveiled its anticipated 2009-10 budget.

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

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