ROCK FALLS – Once again, the Rock Falls School District must deal with a budget deficit.
The school board unanimously approved the tentative budget Wednesday night, which includes a budget shortfall of $553,000.
“Local revenue is dropping, and the cost of doing business is going up,” Superintendent Ron McCord said. “Each time we make a cut, we find another place where revenue has decreased.”
The $9.9 million budget includes the education, building, transportation and working cash funds.
The shortfall was $893,000 last year and $1.2 million 2 years ago.
Now that the tentative budget is approved, it will be on display for 30 days in the district office, 101 12th Ave., Rock Falls.
The board will have a public hearing on the budget at its next meeting on Sept. 24. That night, after the hearing, the board will vote on the budget for the final time.
Since last January, the school board has cut more than $340,000 from the budget.
Positions cut include three teachers, a part-time custodian, three coaches and three sponsorship jobs.
“We went from 50 certified teachers down to 47,” McCord said. “We are also looking at additional positions.”
There was also a 20 percent cut to all departmental budgets.
In addition, only seniors can attend the Whiteside Area Career Center in Sterling this year. In the past, juniors were also able to attend the vocational program.
Depending on the amount of help the district gets from the state, and what decisions are made locally, 2014-15 could be a year of program cuts and additional staff reductions.
“We are trying not to cut the programs that impacts students, but we may have to,” McCord said. “We are not there yet, but we are getting close.”
The Rock Falls High School Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 in Room 137 at the school, 101 12th Ave. After the hearing, the board will vote on the final budget.