Kurt Hildebrand

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May 14, 2013
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Schools waiting on state to balance final budget

There’s more of a tightrope than a rope bridge between the Douglas County School District and balancing its budget, but school officials are hopeful that they’ll have a better idea what the Legislature will do with the distributive school account by the end of the week.

School board trustees will meet 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to finalize their final budget despite a $1.2 million gap.

“We’re still waiting for the DSA to be finalized,” Superintendent Lisa Noonan said Monday. “But based on projections we should be close. We’re still not across the finish line until June. The DSA is proposed to go up, following the governor’s proposal.”

That’s when the Nevada Legislature wraps up and approves all of the state’s budgets.

Rather than doing a long list of layoffs as in prior years, Noonan said this year the district decided to wait and see what the Legislature would do with the funding.

While funding is expected to increase to cover the difference, there’s no way for the district to know until after the Legislature is over.

“We spend the summer following up on what the Legislature did — pulling apart the threads to determine if we need new policies, if there are new programs and whether they have funding, if there are unfunded mandates. There are still some major reforms coming out of the last session.”

Over the past few years, budget shortfalls have resulted in teachers receiving pink slips because the district didn’t know how much money was coming from the state. After the Legislature was done, many of those teachers were restored. For some teachers that happened several times, prompting them to leave the district.

In Nevada, school districts receive funding based on the number of enrolled students. District officials are expecting another decrease in enrollment next year of 79 students to 5,822 by June 2014. Most of that decrease will occur at the elementary schools. The number of children in the middle and high schools is expected to increase slightly next year. The amount of money per pupil for the end of fiscal year 2014 is expected to be $5,314. The school district has a $50.2 million general fund budget.

School district trustees meet 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Douglas High School in Minden.

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The Record Courier Updated May 14, 2013 05:36PM Published May 16, 2013 01:26PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.