After five long years and a gruesome $7.5 million in budget cuts, the Little Falls School District is officially out of statutory operating debt.
Little Falls Superintendent Sharon Thomas said Monday she is appreciative of all the work and sacrifice the Little Falls School Board made in the past five years to bring the district out of statutory operating debt.
"The board demonstrated strong fiscal responsibility in managing an extremely tight budget," she said.
Thomas said the school board faced many challenges in the past five years. Beside cutting $7.5 million, the school district faced declining enrollment, four failed referendums and a freeze in state per-pupil unit funding.
The state declared the school district in statutory operating debt in 1999. The district had a negative fund balance greater than the percentage of its budget allowed by the state law.
The district's unreserved general fund balance was $947,981 in the red in 2000; $1.5 million in the red in 2001; $912,304 in the red in 2002; $597,745 in the red in 2003; and $362,589 in the red as of June 30.
Little Falls Business Manager Nancy Henderson said the district expects the unreserved general fund balance to be $300,000 in the hole by June 30, 2005.
Thomas said the district is optimistic it will not have to make reductions like it has in the past in the next few years. However, she said the challenge the district faces is a reduction in state funding.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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