Lee County, IA – Iowa
The Fort Madison School District might have to lay off employees to make ends meet.
Superintendent Ken Marang says the district faces a roughly $1.2-million shortfall in next year's budget. He presented about $700,000 in possible savings to the Fort Madison School Board earlier this month.
Marang's list includes laying off five teachers, not replacing several upcoming vacancies, eliminating a bus route, dropping the district's before-and-after school program, and delaying the purchase of new textbooks. He says staff cuts had to be explored because Fort Madison's budget is 80% salaries and benefits.
"It doesn't go very far," says Marang, "when you look at cutting back on electricity, transportation or field trips. This does not add up very quickly."
Marang says nothing is set in stone. He says the Iowa Legislature is still meeting and the Fort Madison School District is still working on new contracts with its union employees.
Marang plans to present his final recommendations to the Fort Madison School Board next month.
The Hamilton School District says a delay in state funding will not impact education, at least this year.
Superintendent Steve Breckon says Illinois is up-to-date on general state aid payments to the Hamilton School District. But he says the state is about $106,000 behind in grant funding with another payment due in the next few weeks.
Breckon says Hamilton can get by for one more year by cutting about $59,000 in areas such as summer maintenance and school bus upgrades.
"If the financial situation still looks like it is going to be bad or getting worse," says Breckon, "we will use this next year to plan, collectively, with our community on how we will adjust."
Breckon says Hamilton will have the same number of full-time teachers, next year, as are present this year.
You can hear from both superintendents by clicking the audio link above. First up is Fort Madison Superintendent Ken Marang with Hamilton Superintendent Steve Breckon up next.