School board gets input on proposed 2019-20 budget cuts

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At its April 1 meeting, the District 777 Board of Education went through the painstaking list of proposed cuts for the 2019-20 school year as it tries to balance its budget.

Based on current state funding and local tax revenues, the school district estimates it is facing a deficit of $631,900 with general fund operating income for the coming school year projected at $9,350,700 and expenses of $9,982,600.

A decision on $636,440 in cuts will be made at the school board’s April 15 meeting.

With salaries and benefits making up over 70 percent of the school district’s expenses, staff positions and course offerings are necessarily on the table for reductions.

There are two principal reasons for the projected budget deficit: The lack of state funding and falling enrollment.

 “It comes up all the time; it is the lack of state funding,” Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said of the need for cuts at the April 1 meeting. Going back to 2003 Benson Schools are $600 per pupil behind in state funding if you figure in inflation.

Minnesota’s Legislature has not kept student funding up to the rate of inflation causing school districts to struggle to balance their budgets while still offering students a curriculum necessary for their entering the workforce or post secondary education.

Benson schools are projected to have 837.8 pupil units enrolled in the 2019-2020 school year...

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