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Moline School Board to choose from 3 plans for cutting budget

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Moline school officials are about to vote on which of three plans they’ll use to cut the district’s budget for the upcoming school year.

Moline Schools will have to reallocate $3.8 million from the district’s Education Fund to cope with funding deficits for next year.  To reduce the shortfall, the Board of Education has directed the administration to reduce the budget for the 2013-2014 school year by about $2 million.   Those cuts are in addition to $9.2 million in cuts the district has made over the past three years.

Administrators have created three budget scenarios which they’ll present to the Board of Education at its April 8, 2013 meeting.

Superintendent Dr. David Moyer said the district is reaching its limit for using contingency funds.

“The vast majority of any school district’s budget is the Education Fund, and the majority of that is educational staff.  When we are talking about the types of dollars involved during these challenging times, there is very little choice but to reduce staff,” Dr. Moyer said.

Read the three plans – click here.

Option A includes cutting 24 full-time equivalent teaching positions from the budget.  Those staff reductions were approved at the board’s meeting in March.  This option leaves the school district using $2.6 million from the fund.

Option B adds more cuts to reduce the amount needed from the fund to $1.75 million.  Option B adds $400,000 in special education tuition cuts; saving $225,000 by delaying purchases of new textbooks; and additional savings from retirements, staff attrition, reduced technology expenditures and eliminating the district calendar.

Option C adds more savings to the first two options by increasing fees, increasing elementary class sizes, closing one elementary school, eliminating the Early Childhood program and eliminating or increasing fees for some extracurricular activities.  That option requires just over $200,000 to be used from the fund.

The administration is recommending the board approve Option B.  The board has said cuts from the list in Option C might be necessary to help close the gap in state-level funding.  School officials said the state is behind in its payments to Moline Schools by about $1.2 million this year.

District officials said nearly half of the funding for Moline schools comes from local property taxes, and that property values have declined by 1.7%.  That decline reduced the district’s projected revenue for next year by $782,186.

In addition to immediate cuts, the board is developing a long-term operational plan to manage falling revenue.  That plan, to be presented at the May 13, 2013 board meeting, includes withdrawing from the Blackhawk Area Special Education District at the end of next year.