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Published: Wednesday, 4/21/2010

Mason board examines cuts, concessions to offset deficit


ERIE - Facing a project deficit of nearly $1.1 million for the next school year, Mason Consolidated School officials have been given a list of possible cuts to help offset the shortfall.

The administration last week gave two lists of potential spending cuts to the Board of Education's finance committee.

The most severe of the two spending plans, if implemented, would trim about $110,000 from the budget. It calls for minimal cuts to teachers and staff.

Superintendent David Drewyor said the rest of the shortfall would be addressed through attempting to negotiate concessions from staff and teachers and taking money from the district's savings account.

The suggested cuts given to board members include eliminating a part-time custodian and an elementary teacher as well as doing away with two middle school assistant football coaches and leasing one less school bus.

The district could gain additional revenue by selling the Luna Pier and North Elementary buildings.

Mr. Drewyor said the district has reduced expenditures as much as possible over the last several years and there is little left to cut.

"We cannot make up the entire $1.1 million deficit. If I could make up half of that amount, I would be happy," he said.

The school district is anticipating about $9.9 million in revenues and nearly $11 million in expenditures for the coming school year.

That compares with this year's budget that had about $10.5 million in revenues and $11 million in expenses.

The district's greatest savings could be achieved in getting concessions on wages and benefits in negotiations with its five unions and three bargaining groups. Contracts with the groups expire Sept. 1.

The budget recommendations were to be presented Monday. The district has scheduled meetings at 7 p.m. Monday and April 29 in the high school library to address finances and the related shrinking state funding.

Mr. Drewyor said the "community conversations" will give the public the opportunity to discuss the economic situation for education in Mason Consolidated Schools and Michigan. The board is expected to take action at its May 3 meeting.

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