Region 16 school board holding budget workshops

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The Region 16 Board of Education is about to get down to the nitty-gritty of shaping its budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year and the public is invited.

Beginning next week, the school board will hold a series of five budget workshops. Three hour-long workshops will be held prior to the board’s regular meetings on Feb. 22, March 14, and March 28. Two other workshops will be held Feb. 29 and March 21.

District administrators have been crafting a draft budget to present to the board, which will be discussed for the first time in a public forum on Feb. 22.

“I think the first thing everyone has in mind is the economy,” interim Superintendent of Schools Tim James said.

James said the school board must balance a responsibly to the public and the needs of the district when crafting its budget.

“It’s going to be a balancing act, I think,” James said.

Priorities for the budget, James said, are first student safety, followed by programs, and district operations, such as capital projects.

The current school budget is $36.77 million, which is $147,579 or 0.41 percent more than the 2010-11 budget.

The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 11 followed by the annual district meeting on May 7.

Budget Workshops

Feb. 22, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Long River Middle School

Feb. 29, 7 p.m., Woodland Regional High School

March 14, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Woodland Regional High School

March 21, 7 p.m., Long River Middle School

March 28, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Long River Middle School