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MACCRAY board will look at $100,000 budget cut

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news Morris, 56267
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

CLARA CITY -- The MACCRAY School Board is considering a $100,000 cut to its budget for the next school year.

The board discussed making the cuts at a meeting last week.

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Voters in the district approved a higher operating levy last fall, and that will provide more revenue for the 2010-11 school year. However, falling enrollment and the possibility of reduced state revenue mean the district could still need to make cuts, Superintendent Greg Schmidt said Friday.

"Even with all the new money, we could still fall a bit short," he said.

The biggest problem is the loss of enrollment, he said. The district will graduate a large senior class and expects 31 fewer kindergarteners in the fall.

The loss of state aid based on enrollment could be as much as $180,000, because state aid for kindergarteners is much less than that for senior high students.

The district has made significant cuts to its budget in recent years, including a shift to a four-day school week. Without those cuts, the district would have been in debt, he said.

"We have a positive, unreserved fund balance for the first time in three years," he said.

There is a concern that state aid to schools could be cut next year, because of the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficits. Schmidt said the board is operating under the assumption that the state could reduce funding by $100 per pupil-unit.

The board will decide at a later meeting what the cuts will be.

In other business, the board approved a cooperative agreement with Renville County West to run a joint track and field program for boys and girls in grades 7-12.

The athletic directors from the two schools worked out the details of the program, Schmidt said. The two schools will split the expenses equally, and it should help both save money, he said.

The teams will practice Mondays in Renville and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in Clara City. Teams will stay in their own districts for Wednesday practices, which are shorter.

The schools have already paired in cross country, and that went well, Schmidt said.

The board agreed to have students make up two snow days on March 22 and May 3. Both days are Mondays when school would not normally have been in session.

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