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Arlington schools predict 'staggering' deficit

Posted by Brock Parker  January 15, 2010 10:41 AM

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Arlington schools would need to cut as much as 20 percent of its staff in the coming school year if a worst-case budget scenario comes to fruition.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie said the district has estimated its revenue will be down by 10 percent in fiscal year 2011 and public schools might be facing a $6.8 million deficit.

"Which is just staggering," Bodie said Friday.

Funding cuts and cost increases to the district's $45 million budget could require the district to cut up to 80 to 95 positions, Bodie said.

The stark budget forecast has created a difficult mood for administrators, teachers, and the community, Bodie said.

Arlington, like school districts across the state, is still waiting for state aid projections.

But Bodie said Arlington is assuming that circuit breaker special education funding could be cut by as much a $1.3 million. At the same time the district is facing rising special education costs, as well as salary step increases for teachers in the district, the superintendent said.

The early budget predictions are a worst-case scenario that Bodie said she's hoping will improve as Arlington receives actual numbers about what its revenue will be.
But Bodie said the district wants to be prepared for the worst.

"As a school system, we have to think about what are the worst case scenarios we could be dealing with," she said.

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