LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Little Rock School District is looking at cutting millions of dollars from next year's budget. On Thursday, the district’s Community Advisory Board looked at some options to help cut down on costs.
Starting next school year, LRSD will lose about $40 million in desegregation funding. Options to fill the gap include 3 to 4 school closures that would save $4.7 million, $3 million in cuts to secondary school staffing, and another $1 million in position reductions. The potential cuts for the 2017-2018 school year total about $15 million. With a 75% achievement goal, that would help the district save reductions of $11 million.
“This is just another thing we have to do as desegregation money leaves our district,” said LRSD Superintendent Mike Poore. “We're losing about $37 million from our budget that we've got to account for and go ahead and balance our checkbook.”
The cuts are necessary after desegregation funding was eliminated. Little Rock schools relied on millions of dollars in desegregation money for more than 25 years.
In 2014, a federal judge ruled the district showed progress in desegregation and would no longer need the money. Reductions since 2014, along with the proposed cuts, total $41 million.
Now, tough conversations are being held to determine where the cuts will be made. While some options, like tightening transportation and administrative costs are almost a definite, other options, like potentially closing schools, aren't so easy to decide on.
“Some of these other things on the list are things that really impact the lives of teachers, employees, and involve families and those are the ones that are more difficult and tough and it’s going to take a lot to figure out what’s the right thing to do," said Poore.
On Monday, the school district will reach out to the community through social media asking where the public for input on where the cuts should come from.
They hope to have a clearer idea of the budget cuts by January.