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Public input sought for big school cuts

School district administrators have prepared a $900,000 budget reduction package to plug a projected deficit for the 2012-13 school year.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, at the Meyer Middle School library that proposal will be reviewed for the public.

A 20-30 minute presentation on the cuts will be followed by time for comments and questions. School board members will attend to gauge the feedback.

"This has been a very deliberate process, and we want people to understand how it was done," said School Board President Stacy Johnson Myers. "We didn't just pull these numbers out of the hat.

"No final decisions have been made. We're waiting now for feedback from the community."

The complete budget reduction list will be publicly reviewed at the April 10 evening session at the middle school.

Superintendent Tom Westerhaus said there is one new development that could minimize the effects of the $900,000 reduction package.

An insurance committee made up of administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals and staff has found a new health insurance carrier that offers a benefits package (with higher deductibles) that would save the school district $300,000 a year.

If the school board approved the new carrier and plan, that would shave one third from the proposed $900,000 worth of cuts being proposed.

After the 6 p.m. April 10 public hearing on the budget, the school board will immediately discuss the proposed reductions. It won't vote on any cuts until its regular meeting April 16.

For much more on this story, please check the April 4 print edition of the River Falls Journal.