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$100,000 school revenue shortfall expected

Dickinson Public Schools' revenue may be nearly $100,000 less than expected this year, school officials say. However leaders believe it will be made up in other ways and won't cause problems.

DPS Budget Committee members discussed revenues and expenses at their regular meeting Wednesday.

Though it's early to say, Vince Reep, business manager and director of personnel for Dickinson Public Schools, said he estimates the district will be about $100,000 short. The revenue budget is about $23.5 million.

Reep said a combination of things added to the shortfall, but interest earned on savings and CD accounts is where the school is "really getting smoked."

He said $2 million was put into a CD in October which is drawing 3.01 percent. DPS's money market account gets 1.42 percent and checking is less than 1 percent, Reep said, adding he projects a $75,000 shortfall in that budget item. "We'll adjust it for next year."

Reep said the school is expected to take in more drivers' education fees than budgeted.

"Last year we raised the fees just a little bit," he said. He said the cost is $170 now -- up $15.

Reep added he is estimating $150,000 or more could go to the school from oil and gas production tax.

Reep reported the school has an expenditure budget of about $22.5 million, and overall the school budgeted a positive amount of a little more than $1 million, and believes the actual amount will be somewhere around $1.2 million.

Extra will go into the interim fund, which is about $3.1 million and will grow to about $4.3 million, Reep said.

Superintendent Paul Stremick gave estimated revenue for upcoming years.

The 2009-2010 school year total revenue is projected to be about $19 million, and the 2010-2011 school year is projected to come in at $20.4 million, though Stremick said those numbers are tentative.

Stremick also discussed the possibility of sending some school staff to a three-day workshop in Denver or Minneapolis.

"I feel it's very important to train our principals to be experts in their buildings," Stremick said. "It's been my belief in the past that some of the initiatives we've had in the past haven't been successful because we haven't had the leaders in the buildings."

Costs to send about 15 people, including principals, assistant principals and some administrative staff, will be about $20,000, though that may change according to accommodations, food and travel, Stremick said.

Reep said he would not have the funding to send all of the members of the group at once this year, but could later on.

Committee member Mitzi Swenson said she feels the training would not be as effective if only a few of the selected members were allowed to attend.

"Professional learning communities are the way we conduct business not the business we are conducting," Stremick said. "It's how to get there."