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West Prairie Schools Look to Stem Red Ink

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Rich Egger
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For the third year in a row, the West Prairie School District expects deficit spending in its Education Fund.

And Superintendent Jonathan Heerboth remains concerned about state support for local schools.

“In my career, this is certainly the longest downturn in terms of support for public entities. And frankly I don’t see any sign that state funding for education has hit bottom yet,” said Heerboth.

“I think that all the signs point to this continuing for a while yet, and I think we have to take steps now to stop spending more than we’re taking in.”

He said the goal is to make this the final year of deficit spending in the Education Fund, which pays for all education-related expenses, including salaries and supplies. He said the district will need to look at just about every item in its budget to meet that goal. He declined to elaborate on what might be done, saying he first wanted to talk it over with the Board of Education.

Heerboth said cash reserves will cover this years’s $259,662 shortfall in the fund, which should still have about $1.5 million in it at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2015.

The district has four main operating funds: education, operations and maintenance, transportation, and working cash. The district expects $7,673,784 in total revenues for the four operating funds, and total spending of $7,882,465.

The bottom line is a shortfall of $208,681.

Heerboth said he’s proud of the district’s programs and students, and added, “We are grateful for our local property tax payers who make that possible.”

Rich is TSPR's News Director.