Cedar Rapids school district discusses budget shortfall - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids school district discusses budget shortfall

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - The Cedar Rapids school district looked ahead to the budget challenges it will face over the next couple years, during its board meeting Monday evening.

The board of education got a sampling of what may be done in response to Governor Chet Culver's 10 percent across-the-board budget cut. Superintendent David Benson says layoffs won't happen this school year, but it's unclear whether they'll be avoided next year.

The district faces a $10 million shortfall, a combination of the governor's budget reduction, and Linn County's tax abatement for properties that were flooded last June.

"It will mean a lowering of our cash reserve position, and that will have to be looked at very carefully," said Dr. Benson.

Dr. Benson says the district's reserve fund will be slashed from $15 million to less than $5 million to cope with the shortfall. But Executive Director of Business Services Steve Graham estimates the district can save $3.3 million in the current fiscal year, through cuts to spending for buildings, non-staff reductions, and using funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Dr. Benson says the district can save in other areas, such as leaving vacant staff positions open. "A big district like this normally has some attrition to work with."

The board will also examine the possibility of four-day work weeks, and combining school bus routes.

The board will continue to discuss the budget until April, when it must set a tax levy. In order for the district to grow by one percent, it would need to set a $2.4 million dollar tax levy for the next fiscal year.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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