The Slater Board of Education held a special meeting earlier this week to discuss future school funding. Click to hear KMZU’s Bob Allen talk with Slater School District Interim Superintendent Carol Maher:
Maher says last year’s staff reductions were supposed to balance decreases in state support. Slater trimmed around $215,000 off their 2011-2012 budget, but the state is predicting around $213,000 in funding shortfall this year. Looking forward, Maher expects losses in revenue between $20,000 and $200,000 for next year. “You can’t cut that many paper clips,” says Mayer, “those kinds of funds, that kind of expenditure, is only cut through salaries and benefits.”
Maher believes government officials are doing their best to fix funding problems, particularly in education, but it’s a process that could take several years. Even if the economy were to turn around today, Maher sees districts struggling because the trickle down would take longer than many would expect.
According to Maher, the special meeting was to begin planning for the expected loss in revenue in the future. The state is predicting a drop from the current 92% funding rate to as low as 85%, and while 7% may not seem like much, to a district the size of Slater, it could be devastating. Maher says the district has to be proactive in trying to make the best of a tough situation.