Balancing the budget by funding priorities. That’s what City School Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas said he intends to do with next year’s budget.
Thursday night Vargas presented his plan to the School Board to close a projected $50.2 million deficit for the next school year.
He made no mention of teacher lay-offs in his plan and Vargas said he'll do everything he can to minimize such cuts.
"For example we are asking to go and have discussions with our bargaining units for $5 million," Vargas said. "So we're asking for them to help us and to work with us to make sure we minimize any potential drastic situations like we saw two years ago," said Vargas.
Vargas cited a 37% increase in retirement costs as a major driver of the deficit which he predicted last spring would be closer to $33 million.
To help close the budget gap Vargas wants to use $6 million in efficiencies from the 2011-2012 school year. In addition, he said contract adjustments, retirements, attrition and savings in programs among other efficiencies will help close the gap. Vargas added there are no cuts to art, music, and sports programs in his budget plan.
The public will get to weigh in on the proposed plan starting in January.