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Saugus may face more cuts

Officials could be forced to slash another $8 million

Posted: October 23, 2009 10:00 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The Saugus Union School District faces an $8 million cut next year, leaving district officials to figure out ways to reduce costs.

This week’s projections, which amount to a roughly 10 percent budget cut, come as Saugus Union has already suffered an $11.9 million budget cut between the current and previous fiscal years, Superintendent Judy Fish said.

Officials won’t know exactly where cuts will be made until December, however, because some cuts will require negotiations with unions.

Stabilization funds from the federal stimulus package and leftover funds from 2008-09 helped Saugus Union balance its budget this year, Fish said.

“That gets us through this year and all of the various cuts we did last year helped us to be able to balance this year,” Fish said.

Saugus Union has already increased class sizes, which range from 20 to 23 students in primary grades, and offered an early retirement incentive program for senior teachers in the spring.

With 85 percent of Saugus Union’s budget spent on salaries and benefits, Fish said, “I’m sure it’s going to involve looking at ways we reduce those costs.”

Other options involve pooling funds earmarked for specific programs into the general fund and delaying the adoption of a language arts program, she said.

Fish said the goal is to preserve as many jobs as possible.

“The board has gone on record saying they have tried to stay as far away as possible from jobs and programs,” she said. “They were able to accomplish that to a large degree.”

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