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D65 faces $5.5M shortfall

As a result of newly projected state funding cuts, School District 65 faces a $5.5 million deficit in its planned $100 million spending plan for the next school year.

That was the word from the district’s finance director, Mary Brown, at tonight’s school board meeting.

As a result of newly projected state funding cuts, School District 65 faces a $5.5 million deficit in its planned $100 million spending plan for the next school year.

That was the word from the district’s finance director, Mary Brown, at tonight’s school board meeting.

Board President Keith Terry said  the new figures show "a shocking level of deficit" facing the district.

"It changes the ball game in many respects" for the district, he added.

Board member Andrew Pigozzi called it "very sobering news," and said "one of the most frustrating aspects of being on the school board is that it is subject to forces beyond our control."

"We rely on state and federal aid to fund a fair share of school costs," Pigozzi said. "All of this is now in jeopardy. The district has been very diligent in monitoring spending and controlling its budget. The state and federal governments have not."

"As a citizen I find it unconscionable that our lawmakers would shortchange public education," he added.

Brown said the latest advice from state officials is that the district next year may not get any general state aid payment, which amounted to $3.7 million this year, and is also expected to get only three of four scheduled categorical aid payments — that would cost the district another $1 million. The district was already projecting an $800,000 shortfall for next year’s budget.

Board members said they likely will reschedule next week’s finance committee meeting from Monday to Thursday so they’ll know what the governor says about school financing in his budget address scheduled for next Wednesday.

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