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Idaho Falls schools facing nearly $4 million in cuts

Idaho Falls schools facing nearly $4 million in cuts

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - It's tough to find a school district in Idaho that doesn't need money. School administrators said they're struggling every day to operate.

Idaho Falls School District #91 is facing between $3.5 to $4 million worth of cuts for the coming school year.

The cuts will have to come out of the district's general fund. SD 91 is expecting to receive at least $5.7 million less for that account.

School administrators say they started feeling the financial squeeze soon after the recession hit.

Many districts began cutting or dipping into savings to make it through. Now, they have to cut even more or risk being in the red.

"This is really the third major reduction we've had in the last 5 years," said George Boland, superintendent. "First it was $2.5 million, then $4.2 million and now we're looking between $3.5 to $4 million."

Boland said cuts are needed to balance the district's budget.

A couple of proposals are on the table, including reducing $1.5 million in district operations and maintenance and $3.3 million elsewhere.

"We're so extremely lean that there isn't anything that we can reduce at this point that's not going to have some type of impact," said Boland.

And although the Idaho Legislature approved a 2.2 percent increase in education spending, that money has to go to specific initiatives like professional development or technology.

"I think there's some confusion about different pots of money and what they can and cannot be used for," said Boland. "What we're talking about is our general fund."

There have been some discussions over possibly requesting a second supplemental levy, but the district would like to wait to see how the cuts go before even considering asking taxpayers for help.

The district is looking for public input and will hold budget workshops throughout the rest of the month:  

  *   Thursday, April 25, 5 p.m.  to 7:30 pm, Media Center at Skyline High School,   
  *   Saturday, April 27, 9 am to 11:30 am, Taylorview Middle School
  *   Monday, April 29, 11 am to 1:30 pm, Idaho Falls Public Library

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