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Experts present draft of new budget at J-E school board meeting

The Jordan-Elbridge school board has enlisted the help of two finance experts to revamp the school district's annual budget for the 2011-2012 academic year. After four days of review and preparation, the proposal was presented to the community at the school board meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the JE High School cafeteria.

The school board called in Joseph Coleman, former high school principal and retired superintendent of Lafayette School District, and Thomas Strain from the Association of Student Business Officials after the previous budget was shot down by a whopping 1,282 to 323 vote. The budget called for the elimination of nearly 30 staff positions.

Strain told the crowd of more than 60 taxpayers that he and Coleman went through the budget line by line to see exactly how much money is available and where the funds are being directed.

Coleman said all aspects are being taken into consideration, from basic education programs to operations and maintenance.

"But there are some critical, critical limitations," Coleman said. "You can't exceed prior years of approved budget by more than 1.92 percent. In addition to that, the administrative employment budget may not exceed the total of the budget of the prior year or the most recently defeated budget. This is a tight situation, folks."

Coleman said in order to have a manageable budget, most equipment and supply purchases will have to be discontinued, including athletic gear and classroom supplies. However, the budget proposal includes a tax levy of 4.2 percent, a 3.1-percent decrease from the previous proposal.

Coleman also alluded to the "reinstitution of proposed reductions that were there" that have been included in the new budget proposal.

"We haven't finalized that yet, but we're on a road that is very positive," he said.

Current Interim Superintendent William Speck said that all those who are involved with the budget proposal are paying close attention to the changes being made.

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