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Homan: No Staff Layoffs, No Increased Taxes

April 1, 2011, 5:57 PM by Katie Janssen

Homan: No Staff Layoffs, No Increased Taxes
SIOUX FALLS, SD - We have a better idea of what education cuts will look like in the Sioux Falls School District.  Superintendent Pam Homan outlined a proposal to make up for ongoing shortfalls of $9 million.

The proposed plan is to cut expenses by $6.5 million and raise the opt-out amount by another $2.5 million. Homan says it can all be done without raising property taxes, and no teachers will be laid off. 

Homan says it's been a difficult process, but with the help of community financial experts, the district has a plan to see it through next year.

"We have become experts at making painful cuts and by nothing short of a miracle, still are able to provide quality education to each and every one of our 21,411 students," Homan said.

Homan says by rearranging payments for four building projects, the district can earn more money through the existing opt-out. Instead of paying principal, administrators would only pay interest.

"That allows us to seek lower levy for capital outlay, and the balance of that with general fund capital outlay means a zero percent increase to the homeowner," Homan said.

There are a few programs that will see cuts, like reading recovery and some athletic positions.

"We would eliminate middle school and high school intramurals, middle school gymnastics, and high school strength coaches," Homan said.

But even if a position is cut, Homan says no staff members will lose their jobs because the district accepted around 100 early retirements.

"Who we are today, we will be tomorrow, and we brought forward a plan that that can be, and it can be without any expense to the homeowners' tax rate," Homan said.

All teachers and staff will take an average pay cut of two percent; administrators have offered to go beyond that and take a three percent cut.

Click here for a look at the district's full report.

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