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by Suzanne Vernon
For the Pathfinder
November 20, 1997
An enrollment drop at Swan Valley Elementary School this year has caused a 10% decrease in funding, and school trustees will soon be asking local residents to help formulate solutions to the budget problem.
The school currently has 82 students enrolled, compared to 92 last year. State funding, which is based on enrollment, will decrease between $30,000 and $35,000.
"That's quite a chunk of change," school principal Kitty Logan said recently. Their total budget is currently at $342,800.
In January, trustees plan to host a series of community meetings so that local residents can help devise a plan for the school so that it can operate with the budget shortfall. Logan explained that programs and a teaching position could be cut, including her own job as principal. "No position is sacred," she said.
A mill levy has also been discussed. However, Logan stressed that a mill levy will be considered only with support from local residents. "We plan to be very public and open with this," she said. "It's the only way a mill levy will pass here."
At their November meeting, school trustees discussed a variety of other ways to meet the new budget challenge. For starters, they agreed to allow home schooled children to participate in after-school activities if the child enrolls in the school for at least two class periods per day. By enrolling those students part-time, the school will be able to count the children in attendance records which will result in additional funding.
School trustees hope to have a budget plan in place to address the funding cuts by March 1, 1998.