Danville schools looking to cut 10 positions

Danville schools looking to cut 10 positions

DANVILLE — While teachers will be spared, Danville schools officials are looking at eliminating 10 positions and making other cuts to help balance the district's budget in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Possible staff reductions include two math coaches, which are funded through federal Title 1 grant funds; seven teaching assistants; and a family liaison. Estimated savings: $368,720.

Other possible cuts that could save the district $100,000 include travel, instructional and buildings and grounds supplies.

The school board will hold a public hearing on the proposed cuts, then vote on whether to approve them on April 9.

Earlier this week, officials said the district is looking at a $2 million deficit, based on current projections.

For the past two years, the district has received only 89 percent of its general state aid allocation, which has translated to a $6 million loss over that period. While the state won't finalize its budget until spring, officials expect funding to drop to 85 percent, which would be an additional $1.1 million-plus loss.

"This is our best guess," business and finance director Heather Smith said.

State funding accounts for about 50 percent of the district's revenue, Smith said. The district is also looking at a $100,000 decrease in special education funding.

At the same time, expenses continue to rise. The district expects a $260,204 increase in personnel expenses and a $117,418 bump in transportation costs.

Superintendent Mark Denman said one of the district's two family liaisons resigned unexpectedly, so that position would be eliminated through attrition. He said teaching positions weren't cut so as to not impact class size, which is at the state's average. No programs are in danger at this time, he added.

"But if the state doesn't get its house in order, the district may not have a choice," he cautioned.

Denman said the district is fortunate to have a healthy reserve fund to help cover a portion of the projected shortfall.

Smith said the balance is expected to be at about $20.5 million on July 1, the start of the fiscal year. However, only about $11.8 million can be used for educational expenses.

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