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NLS Finance Committee to discuss two options for $300K in cuts

NEW LONDON -- The Finance Committee of New London-Spicer Schools will start discussing this week how to cut more than $300,000 from the district's 2009-10 budget.

The district on March 9 informed the School Board the cuts would be required. During Monday's board meeting, the Finance Committee presented two options to cut the funding.

Board Chairperson Robert Moller said the committee will present a recommendation to the School Board regarding one of the plans by the district's April 13 meeting. Between the two plans, the district would save somewhere between $308,633 and $309,515. Both plans would include reductions in full-time and part-time teachers, with one plan reducing more than three full-time teaching positions. Both plans would also increase student parking fees, cut $11,000 in athletic programming, reduce the district's athletic trainer service and alter the employment of a district social worker.

About a year ago, the district faced a similar fate when it attempted to reduce about $210,000 from the 2008-09 budget. According to Tribune archives, the School Board cut 4½ full-time teaching positions from the district last year to make the recommended reduction level.

In previous interviews, Superintendent Paul Carlson indicated the district is anticipating a larger amount of necessary budget reductions in 2009-10 because NLS will lose substantial enrollment numbers by the fall. Carlson has also said the district isn't expecting any kind of state funding increase from the Legislature due to the state's budget problems.

In other business:

- The board heard a report from district teacher Rick McLain and the four students he joined on a trip to Washington, D.C. The group toured historical sites at the capitol and attended the inauguration of President Obama as part of the WorldStrides tour service program from Chicago.

- School board members had a small discussion about possible ways to finance the district's obligations to post-employment benefits for district staff. Financial advisor Myron Knutson informed the board that up to 40 districts have entered a pre-funding option involving bonds that prevents the district from paying its obligations out of the district general fund each year.