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The district mulls cutting as many as four school days and possibly eliminating some staff

Paul CoakleyThe Centennial School District is forecasting a $1.2 million budget shortfall in the 2018-19 school year and proposes cutting school days and possibly staff reductions to close the gap.

The district blames the shortfall on declining state revenue, increased costs to operate current programs and a reduction in special funding that had shortfalls in prior years.

The district, like others, faces an increase in the cost of its contribution to the Public Employees Retirement System for employee pensions. Personnel costs amount to more than 85 percent of Centennial's yearly expenditures.

The $1.2 million shortfall amounts to 2 percent of the district's budget.

Centennial is not alone. The Reynolds School District proposed cutting 24 teaching positions because of a $2.7 million budget shortfall projected for the 2018-19 school year.

Centennial Superintendent Paul Coakley in his budget message proposed cutting as many as four school days, finding $100,00 in other savings and possibly a "reduction in personnel costs, distributed across all employee groups."

The district also is considering letting the reserve cushion fall to 3 percent of expenditures and the contingency fund to 1.5 percent of the general fund budget.

Changes could still be made to the budget proposals.

Greg Lecuyer, Centennial's director of business and operations said "as we progress through the school year, we know more information and can make adjustments."

The Centennial budget committee is expected to approve the budget at a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at the district office, 18135 S.E. Brooklyn St. The committee will take public comment at this meeting.

The budget then goes to the full Centennial School Board for approval at its Wednesday, June 6, meeting.

Coakley said "absolutely none of those or any combinations of service reductions are acceptable. All of them are very damaging to the education of our children."

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