Cannon Falls schools eye 'terrible' budget cuts
CANNON FALLS — The first phase of budget cuts for the Cannon Falls School District went off without a hitch, but the next two phases could be controversial and painful, Superintendent Beth Giese said.
District voters rejected two proposed levy overrides, and now, the board is faced with cutting about $350,000 from its budget for the 2013-14 school year. The school board approved a relatively stress-free reduction of $38,000 earlier this month, but discussion begins Monday on a $178,000 reduction.
Another six-figure reduction will be required this spring, though the exact amount remains unknown due factors related to the state Legislature. The school board decided Wednesday that an unspecified amount of fund balance also wouldbe used to cover the shortfall as a one-time maneuver.
Giese said the first phase of cuts was "really, really easy" but expects the upcoming discussions to cause some heartburn.
"It's terrible," she said. "We failed our last two referendums. We've already cut the excess; the fat's gone. We're down to nothing.
"I hope the community hears it. If we don't pass a referendum this fall, I don't know what we're going to do."
Budget items that have generated conversation in the community include cutting junior high athletics and eliminating bus service for students who live less than a mile from the school.