SD2 Budget hearing set for end of August

2012-08-06T21:00:00Z 2012-08-06T22:51:04Z SD2 Budget hearing set for end of AugustBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

School District 2 will hold its annual budget hearing at the Aug. 20 school board meeting, giving members of the public a chance to comment on the budget before it is voted on by trustees.

The board balanced the budget earlier this summer. The district had been looking at a $826,000 deficit.

However, trustees agreed to cuts that involved spending less to adopt some Common Core Curriculum requirements, trimming roughly $150,000 from the three high schools’ at-risk student programs and adopting new textbooks on a two-year payment plan.

Those moves put the district back in the black. State law requires the district have its budget turned in to the Office of Public Instruction by the third week of August.

State law also requires the district to hold a public hearing on the budget before it is approved.

Some trustees are anxious about jumps in enrollment this year. SD2 elementary enrollment grew last year by more than 300 students.

Another jump like that this fall could be hard to pay for if there’s no plan, said Trustee Lindy Graves.

“You gotta look at being frugal first,” Superintendent Terry Bouck said. “I mean, our budget is very tight.”

If the district sees enrollment climb again, it can dip into reserves and make a budget amendment, said Leo Hudetz, chief financial officer for the district.

But, he cautioned, reserves are low — around 3 percent of SD2’s $110 million budget.

The Aug. 20 budget hearing will start at 5:30 p.m. in the board room at the Lincoln Center downtown.

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