July 24, 2024

OTTAWA — Although everything about the state’s funding for public education is still up in the air, Ottawa school Supt.Dean Katt said he’s worried that public school budgets will fall to earth and crash next year. Because of rising enrollments this year and increased numbers of “at-risk” students because of the economy, schools face the prospect of taking bigger slices, which means that all schools in the state will likely face funding cuts up to $75 per pupil this school year, Katt said. Although Ottawa schools have already sustained more than $1 million in budget cuts, Katt said he expects he’ll be able to dip into remaining reserves to deal with this year’s cuts. However, Katt said he’s worried about the next school year funding. The state had planned to use economic stimulus money over two years to shore up school funding, he explained. But because of the unexpectedly severe drop in state revenues, Gov. Mark Parkinson had to dip more than $300 million out of the second-year economic stimulus money – that is most of the remaining cash — to plug education funding gaps caused by falling state revenues, Katt explained. Unless legislators come up with more revenue, school districts could see budget cuts of $300 to $350 per pupil or another $2 million in Ottawa’s case. Such cuts would be devastating to schools, he said.
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1 p.m.

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