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SK School Committee begins budget balancing act

January 29, 2011

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Working with a budget that is out of balance by $1.6 million, the School Committee held its first budget work shop at Tuesday night’s meeting, focusing on what conditions would allow the town to maintain school programs and how to balance within budget projections.
Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow highlighted the 2011 to 2012 budget and where the school district is today concerning the budget.

Stringfellow informed the committee that the state will decrease state aid by five percent or by $811,000 and that the district plans for a zero percent increase in appropriation from the municipal side.

Also, the school district is budgeted for a three percent increase in textbook supplies at the school level. This account was reduced by ten percent last year.

“It’s a dramatic reduction in supplies for students but we’re not at the point where I can ask for level funding,” Stringfellow said.
Other budget projections include a five percent increase for utilities to $140,158 and a pension increase of two percent. Also, healthcare costs will increase by four percent based on a 20 percent co-payment. Last year healthcare costs increased by 10 percent.

Stringfellow also stated that with $895,000 added to the budget last year in surplus funds during an audit, the school department plans to use 25 percent of that for this year’s budget.

Overall, Stringfellow said the budget is negative with the school department being $1.6 million out of balance.

Stringfellow also mentioned projects outside of the budget. These projects include eliminating B level courses at the high school next year for grade 9 and taking those savings and adding a grade 9 honors science course. There would be rollout elimination for the B level courses in the following years. Also, with changes to state law, South Kingstown will restructure its administration to collapse two positions and expand two positions, because of the need of staffing in different areas.

For more information pick up a copy of The Narragansett Times.

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