The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 24, 2012

Clinton School District braces for budget cuts

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Certified enrollment figures for the Clinton School District are more discouraging than initially believed.

According to certified enrollment counts, the district lost 90 students, which will likely result in a sizable cut to the district’s budget next school year.  

The district will lose a little more than $545,000 for the 90.2 student decline.

Revenue the district receives for preschool also dropped by $155,199 due to the loss of a program that chose to privatize.

Further, the number of students who open enroll out of the district has increased while those open enrolling into the district has decreased, resulting in a combined loss of $168,842.

Altogether, the district is anticipating the 2013-2014 school year will likely need to be cut by $870,000 to around $1 million due to the decline in student count.

“I think everyone is feeling the pinch. We’re no different,” Superintendent Deb Olson said.

The district anticipates increases in costs such as utilities, insurance and negotiations with the five union groups the district works with, to go along with an anticipation of no increase in allowable growth from the state.

“There are a lot of unknowns and we need to take the steps to have a balanced budget,” District CFO Jan Culbertson said.

Olson said she does not have concerns regarding the budget adjustments affecting the new middle school building.  

The decreased number of students has been a trend in the Clinton School District for at least the past three years. In the 2009-2010 school year, the district’s certified enrollment was 4,188 compared to the 3,965 that are enrolled now.

Through these decreases, personnel cost savings were made through attrition, Olson said. During the same period, the district has reduced staff by 27 teachers and 17 para educators.  

“We’ve made a concerted effort, but this is a larger decrease,” Olson said. “My goal is not to put this burden on the taxpayers.”

At the school board meeting on Oct. 8 when the initial figures of a 79 student loss were reported, Olson said options such as early retirement are being explored in order to deal with the declining revenue.