In response to budget cuts and unallotment, the Wadena-Deer Creek schools will need to take out enormous loans to cover the cost of delayed aid, according to Wadena-Deer Creek Schools District 2155 Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom. While in 2009, the funding shift was 90/10, this year the shift will rise to 73/27. What this years is that out of every $100 in state funds to the district, the state will withhold $27 rather than $10.
Last year, WDC needed to take out a $1.225 million loan to cover operating expenses. Interest on that loan totaled $50,385. The governor’s enhanced shift for fiscal years 2009-10 will result in the district becoming obliged to take out a loan for an estimated $2.4 million, to cover additional revenue lost as a result of the governor’s additionally withheld state aid. Interest on the larger loan will equal the cost of one or more employees. In recent years, our district has cut its operating costs by six figures annually. The budget cut for the coming school year alone totals $790,000. However, even with extraordinary cost-cutting measures having been taken this year and in previous years, the increased withholding of state aid will be hard on our district.
Thanks to Governor Pawlenty and his allies in the Legislature, the amount of money withheld by the state from school districts nearly tripled from previous years. Wadena-Deer Creek is not the only school district looking at taking out millions of dollars in loans to help their district continue to function. You can read Dahlstrom’s entire article at the Wadena Pioneer-Journal and see what we were up to in Wadena on the Thrive Drive website.