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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Prescott School Board to review budget cuts at Feb. 29 meeting

Press release from the Prescott School District 

With the levy cap override referendum vote failing on February 16, the Prescott School Board has some difficult work ahead.  The result of the vote not only reduces funding for expenses over the next four years, it also removes funding of $1.4 million dollars that supports current programs.  This is the first levy cap override that has been rejected by voters since 1999 and represents a 10% cut in the existing budget.

The school board has a special meeting scheduled on Monday, February 29 at 7:00 at the high school library to discuss specific cuts.  This is a public meeting.  In the pre-vote referendum communication, the district identified areas where the budget cuts would happen in this scenario. Those areas include:
     Reduction in overall staffing at all grade levels
     Larger class sizes
     Reduced busing options for students within two miles of the school -at all grade levels (4K-12) and all schools (public and private)
     Reduction and elimination of athletics and extra-curricular programming at all grade levels
     Increased fees for students and community members

Other cuts were already under review to compensate for reduced state funding and some program enhancements will likely be delayed.

A preliminary budget, with the 10% reduction, will be presented at the August annual meeting and final budget will be set for October 2016.  However, funding decisions need to be made now with implementation as early as this spring.   For example, staff layoff notices are required to be delivered by April 30.

Other options, including whether to implement transportation changes immediately, whether to utilize all four district buildings, what programs to discontinue, and more will be discussed by the board on February 29.

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