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School Board approves first revision of 2011-12 budget

The Brainerd School Board unanimously approved the first revision of the 2011-12 budget Monday night. The revision to the budget applied to changes in the preliminary budget, with an earlier budget deficit targeted at $1.2 million. The revision now sets the deficit at $356,201.

Finance Committee Chairman Reed Campbell explained to the board why the committee moved to approve the first revision after its Feb. 6 meeting. He stated, “Director of business services, Steve Lund, reviewed in detail the increase in revenues of approximately $767,353 and the changes in expenses resulting in a net decrease of $146,892, resulting in an improvement in the operating deficit to $356,201.”

With no further discussion, the board moved for approval by all members.

Also on the table for resolution by the Finance Committee was the administration’s recommendation for a smaller cut this year of approximately $500,000 as a net reductions target. Campbell explained that the cut came with “the higher likelihood that there will be more opportunity to gain an increased budget savings reduction through attrition in the future, which would likely mean continued reductions at lower amounts rather than a larger correction in one year.”

Superintendent Steve Razidlo further explained that the budget reductions came from the review of positions through staff attrition and this year, “there is a minimal number of retirements to review and in turn the list of employees eligible for retirement continues to grow.”

Lund continued that the reduction of $500,000 would reflect a deficit forecast at approximately $1 million for the 2012-13 school year.

School Board Chairman Chris Robinson stated he was uncomfortable with a target at $500,000, feeling it would be more appropriate to set the target higher in the $750,000 range.

“I don’t think that we are on track right now for the goal of our budget balanced,” said Robinson. “I think it would be in our best interest to set target for $750,000 as opposed to $500,000.”

Despite Robinson’s objections, the resolution passed 5-1 with Robinson’s opposed.

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5858 or Follow her on Twitter @jessi_pierce