Shortfall Could Force School Layoffs

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The Payson Unified School District will hold a meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the high school auditorium to discuss how to deal with a projected $800,000 shortfall next year.

Despite an influx of $1.2 million in federal funds, much of it from the federal stimulus package, Superintendent Casey O’Brien said the district faces an anticipated $2 million state cut.

“We’re still going to have to cut. We’re not going to get held harmless this year,” O’Brien said Monday night, adding that layoffs are likely.

O’Brien said he had ideas of how to proceed, but would not discuss them until Wednesday.

The district expects to receive $373,000 in stimulus funds, which are targeted to special education and teaching low-income students.

The district also expects to receive $800,000 in federal schools money through a program designed to compensate counties with large amounts of national forest for lost property tax revenue. The program was authorized for four fiscal years in October’s bailout bill.

The first installment of $541,000 has already been received, and the district expects to receive more money in July. The amount of the second installment, however, is still unknown.

State cuts are still unknown since the legislature has not passed next year’s budget.

In the Payson school district, a proposed budget is expected July 5, with a final budget passed by July 15.

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