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NL Schools could face $2 million revenue shortfall

The School District of New London projects an approximate $2 million decrease in revenue based on the Budget Repair Bill and the Biennial State Budget Proposals.

Board members discussed the implications of these proposals during Monday’s regular scheduled board meeting.

According to Business Services Director Joe Marquardt, the Biennial Budget proposes a reduction in general equalization aid of 8.4 percent in fiscal year 2011-12 and a 7.7 percent reduction in 2012-13. The budget also will reduce revenue limits by 5.5 percent.

After Governor Scott Walker gave his Biennial Budget proposal, administrators worked diligently to analyze and project the impact on the district’s 2011-12 budget.

“The reduction in equalization aid will hit us hard,” Marquardt said. “However, based on the district’s enrollment growth with the 4K program we will see more in equalization aid.”

Marquardt also presented a computational sheet that showed calculations for the district based on the percentages given in the Biennial Budget.

“With this $2 million shortfall, we need to be proactive as a district to start planning for the 2011-12 school year,” Marquardt said. “My goal in the next four weeks is to bring big picture budget items to the board. And to find ways of creating efficiencies, restructuring debt and overall looking at things differently.”

Superintendent Bill Fitzpatrick emphasized that this shortfall will have little or no effect on tax payers.

The district also discussed its decision to issue layoff notices to all certified staff as a result of the Budget Repair Bill.

At the board’s Special Meeting on Monday, February 28, members adopted the Memorandum of Understanding by adding a layoff language to individual contracts.

With the addition of the agreed language will help protect the layoff rights of the district and each staff member until the facts of the Bill are known.

“We are committed to working together to meet our goal of success for all our kids,” Fitzpatrick said. “Regardless of the outcomes, there will be about 2,500 students in our schools next year and we will continue to need a passionate and dedicated staff to serve them.”

Fitzpatrick also praised staff members for their professionalism and their continued focus on education for the students during this difficult and uncertain time.

“It’s not easy times, but if we put our minds to it and figure this out; keeping the best interest of students, staff and families, we’ll get through this,” Fitzpatrick said.

Youth Options: College Courses

Board members approved eight Youth Options Applications contingent upon the district not being able to offer two courses: Calculus and Analytical Geometry II and Introduction to Sociology.

The New London School District would like to include these class offerings in the 2011-12 school year. However, with budget and staffing uncertainties, the district cannot commit to offering these classes next year.

The Youth Options Program will provide high school students the opportunity to take the courses at universities, colleges or technical schools. Under the program, the district is mandated to pay for the courses and required materials, but is not responsible for funding transportation, according to Fitzpatrick.

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