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School budgets resolved

September 27, 2018

LAUGHLIN — Due to enrollment numbers below those projected, Laughlin schools feared major cuts, but carryover funds and preplanning are the saving grace this budget season.

The School Organization Team approved a recommendation to move the $108,000 surplus for the junior senior high school budget into the LJSHS supply budget.

The SOT also recommended the elimination of an unfilled teaching position, valued at $79,000, to cover the remaining $43,000 they need to cut from the elementary school budget. The remainder of the unfilled $79,000 salary will be moved into the supply budget.

“I was really relieved because I feared it would be a lot more,” said principal Dawn Estes about the elementary budget.

“While it was ‘oh dear, we have to cut money,’ it (became) ‘oh thank goodness the carry over was there and we chose wisely last year and that we’re going to be able to maintain.’ By not staffing that position immediately and holding off, (the cuts) should not impact students.”

Concerns arose about the potential for severe cuts to the elementary and junior senior high school budgets when enrollment numbers came in lower than predicted on Sept. 7.

Estes reported the actual enrollment at Bennett Elementary School came in at 320 but was projected to be 359.

Enrollment has gone up since count day, but that won’t have any impact on funding, she said.

The funding amount has been set for the year.

Middle school enrollment came in at 179 on count day, Estes said. As of Sept. 14 it is up to 181.

High school enrollment was 194 while the projected number was 199, said Estes.

Enrollment numbers have remained consistent since the official count.

The carryover helped offset any potential issues with lower than projected enrollment, said Estes.

Initial enrollment numbers caused concern for the SOT. Without knowing they would get the carryover funds, the group was looking to cut nearly $200,000 from the elementary school budget, said Estes.

The carryover comes from monies the high school was saving to complete site funded projects and purchase textbooks.

“When we actually saw that we got our carryover money and that careful planning last year, the damage wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been,” she said.

Estes said she she feared she would have to cut three teaching positions and was happy when that didn’t turn out to be the case.

Despite having to make the cut of one unfilled position, the changes shouldn’t impact the students at all, said Estes.

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