One of our promises to the community through our Strategic Plan is to maintain the financial health of our district through continued fiscal accountability. One of the ways we do that is to review our budget on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed.

Looking at our budget for next school year, it has become apparent that we will need to make budget reductions to preserve the financial health of our district.

While Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools remains a growing district, lower-than-projected enrollment growth, combined with state funding that has not kept pace with inflation and increased operating costs, point to the need to begin a budget reduction process in order to maintain our current financial condition.

As a result, Monday night the School Board continued its discussion surrounding budget planning and parameters for increasing revenues and decreasing expenditures. To address these parameters, we will be identifying a combination of increased revenues and decreased expenditures to adjust the district’s budget shortfall by 3% ($3 million) for the 2020-21 school year.

The district is not alone. Approximately two-thirds of metro area school districts are also facing budget cuts due to state funding that has not kept pace with inflation along with rising operating costs.

Over the next several months, we will be looking for ways we can make budget adjustments in buildings and departments while minimizing the impact to students.

It’s important to note that the new construction being built with funds approved by voters remain much-needed spaces to serve our current student population and will also allow for future enrollment growth. The operating referendum approved with the new construction bond allows us to open these new spaces for students and community and meet our projected capacity needs for the next 3-5 years. We are a financially stable district that has maintained a fund balance, part of which we are now using to help us with unexpected expenditures.

As we work to continue to fulfill our promise to the community, our goal will be to maintain our strong fiscal management, continue to plan wisely for our future and provide a high-quality education for all students.

Dr. Teri Staloch is the superintendent of Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools.

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