The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 15, 2014

UPDATED: School board finalizes new budget, cuts positions

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Job cuts in the Clinton School District were made official this week.

Clinton School Board members approved 12 job cuts in February to make up a $907,751 deficit in the fiscal year 2014-15 school district budget. On Monday, the board unanimously approved the final budget, which included the cuts.

Before its approval, the board convened a public hearing for district members to present objections to, or arguments in favor of, any and all facets of the budget, to which no one replied or attended. Without any objections, the board moved to approve the budget and heard a brief breakdown of its details, some of which were slightly altered from the budget’s first formal publication.

“Our overall tax rate was $16.71716,” said Chief Financial Officer Cindy McAleer. “As soon as we had approved it at one of our meetings, we received the updated income tax dollars from the state. So because of the increase in that, we did have to lower our income surtax rate to 8 percent, which originally the board did the recommendation of 9 (percent).”

Because of that decrease, the School Board Review Committee cash reserve levy also had to be decreased by about $85,500 in order for the district to keep the tax rate the same. In doing so, McAleer was able to keep the tax rate close to the original certified budget without having to begin the approval process over again.

The approved tax rate listed in the finalized budget is now at $16.71711 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, instead of the previously recommended $16.71716.

A shortfall of $636,000 was based on declining enrollment numbers, but other factors forced the Clinton district to approve the cuts. In the course of one year, the Clinton schools lost 106 students and approximately $6,000 worth of state funding for each of those students to open enrollment.

One major influence in the $907,751 deficit was a lack of cuts made to the budget the previous year, according to Clinton Superintendent Deb Olson, making the job reduction decisions faced in February difficult but critical, Olson said.

Olson said following a Feb. 10 meeting that she believes no one who wants to work within at Clinton schools next year will lose his or her job.

The 12 positions originally cut during the February board meeting were for a human resources director, one middle school principal, one middle school nurse, one high school industrial technology teacher, one high school FCS teacher, two sixth grade teachers, one elementary school counselor and four elementary school teachers.

Despite the headaches they’ve faced over the course of two months and the tough decisions they were forced to make, board members felt positive about the projected budget and commended McAleer for a job well done in finding a balance.

Amy Kent can be reached at amykent@clintonherald.com.

Amy Kent can be reached at amykent@clintonherald.com.