Moline schools cut $2 million from budget

The Moline Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to approve more than $2 million in cuts for the 2013-2014 school year.

The cuts were part of a plan known as Option B, one of three possible scenarios, which the administration recommended last month.

In addition to the elimination of 24 full-time teaching positions, which was approved at a March board meeting, Option B added more cuts. The plan 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.

The decision comes as the district faces a projected budget deficit of $3.8 million. So far, the district’s been able to avoid cuts to things like extra-curricular activities, but Superintendent David Moyer said those programs aren’t off the table just yet.

“I can’t guarantee you that, because some of the items in Option C might become necessary, depending on what happens at the state level. So, we may have to come back in May or June and look at some further reductions,” said Moyer.

Over the past three years, the district has cut more than $9 million, and Moyer said more cuts will be necessary next year. The district has faced revenue challenges including declining and late state payments, a reduction in local property taxes, and tax exemptions for Elliott Aviation.

Moyer did stress that the cuts made so far are sustainable, meaning they aren’t one-time cuts. With the help of a multi-year plan that is in place, he believes the district will be able to begin to turn its budget situation around.

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