The Lawrence School District needs about $4.2 million to balance its expected 2013-14 schools budget, according to the superintendent.
“We’re looking at every scenario to make this possible,” said Superintendent Gary Schall.
If the district were to roll over last school year’s budget with no changes, it would still be in the hole due to a $700,000 increase in payroll, $600,000 in contracts and $2 million in retirement costs. Meanwhile, the district will not be able to balance its budget this year with its reserve fund, which offset last year’s balance by $3.1 million.
On the positive side, the district is anticipating an additional $1.6 million with a 2 percent tax increase and a $600,000 boost in state aid.
According to School Board Member Dr. David Sussman, the district would have to raise taxes by 8 percent to balance the budget, which would go against the state’s 2 percent tax cap and be unpopular among voters.
To balance last year’s budget, the Lawrence School District moved the high school to an eight-period day, replaced pre-k teachers with recent graduates and offered teachers a retirement buyout.
Patch will take a further look at the 2013-14 school budget and how the district intends to balance it in the coming weeks.