School budget cuts are unavoidable

Panel must decide which to make

June 10, 2009

Franklin — Franklin - As part of its 2009-10 budgeting process, the Franklin School Board is considering about $833,000 in possible cuts, including more than $530,000 in personnel-related costs.

James Milzer, the school district's business services director, said officials are trying to bridge a growing gap between expenditures and revenue.

Based on revenue limits and the expectation of having fewer students next year, Milzer said, the district is expecting a deficit of about $815,500.

Eyeing specific cuts

A list of proposed budget cuts was developed by building principals and other administrative staff and first presented to the School Board's Finance Committee late last month. No decisions have been made yet by the School Board.

Based on the list, the bulk of cuts will be achieved by eliminating or reducing hours for several positions, including elementary library media specialists, elementary guidance staff, educational assistants and office assistants, the police school liaison officer at the middle and high schools, and the district's custodial supervisor and communications coordinator.

Nonpersonnel cuts amount to just over $300,000. Examples include:

• Requiring parent contracts for all private school transportation, a savings of $90,000;

• Cutting telephone service and software costs by $58,390;

• Reducing travel across the district, a savings of $40,000;

• Slashing energy costs by $40,000;

• Reducing legal fees by $20,000.

Not unprecedented

This isn't the first time the district has faced budget cuts, Milzer noted.

Between 2003 and 2005, the district cut $1.8 million from the budget, he said. Last year it cut about $600,000.

"As long as student enrollment isn't growing, we'll have to continue to cut the budget each year because of that," Milzer said.

Because of shortfalls in the state budget as well, the district can likely expect to make deeper cuts than it has in the past, he added.

The Finance Committee was set to hear a budget presentation Wednesday after press deadline. Milzer said further discussion on the proposed cuts could occur as part of that budget presentation.

The School Board will have to approve the first draft of the district's 2009-10 budget at its last meeting in June, he said.


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