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School Board OKs Cuts, Looks at Next Five Years

Treasurer: “The levy dollars we expected aren’t here. That’s why a new levy just has to happen.”

School Board OKs Cuts, Looks at Next Five Years

In one of his last acts as Lakewood’s treasurer, Rick Berdine laid out the school district’s updated five-year forecast to the on Monday night.

As expected, the school district's financial picture isn’t exactly pretty.

But it’s also not as bad as officials had anticipated .

After Berdine laid out the five-year plan, the school board OK’d from the budget.

Berdine said among the reasons for the shortfall are falling property values — which means fewer dollars the district can collect from levies.

State cuts — to the tune of $6.3 million — haven’t helped either.

“It’s nobody’s fault,” Berdine said. “The levy dollars we expected aren’t here. That’s why a new levy just has to happen.”

The calculations cannot, by law, include projections for future levies, he added.

“The successful passage of the 2013 levy is a critical next step to continuing the success of this five-year financial forecast.”

Cutting, closing

Monday’s meeting took place at , one of the three schools slated to close in an effort to save the district about $400,000.

The other two schools considered for closure are and elementary schools, however the decision to close a school won’t be made until August. 

The board approved additional cuts to the staff. There will be a total of 25 fewer staff positions heading into the next school year.

Five teachers will lose their jobs as part of the cuts.

The rest of the staffing cuts will be made through attrition.

“I am not going to tell you there wasn’t any pain in the cuts that were made,” Berdine said. “The muscle is still there. The cuts were made in a very responsible and professional manner.”

The reductions will save the district about $8.6 million over the next three years, officials have said.

Among the feedback from residents in a was the importance of smaller class size — something Berdine said wouldn’t be affected by the cuts and looming school closing.

Later in the meeting, the board accepted Berdine’s resignation after he accepted the earlier this month.

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