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District facing $700K shortfall

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By Carol A. Clark

Projections indicate Los Alamos Public Schools may fall short in budget revenue by some $700,000 next year. John Wolfe, director of business services at LAPS,  told school board members Tuesday evening that he hopes he’s wrong but it looks like it’s going to fall short.

One issue throwing the $38 million budget out of kilter is the insurance rate hikes that occurred this year, Wolfe said. Another major impact, he said, is the fact that LAPS saw a significant drop in enrollment. “Our enrollment figure was down by 100 kids and that equates to roughly $400,000 less funding (from state),” Wolfe said. “This is also a concern for next year and any trend that might entail.”

The vast majority of the district’s budget goes to salaries and benefits, Wolfe said.

Superintendent James Anderson agreed and explained that just $3.8 million falls outside salaries.

“Most of the $3.8 million is for insurance and utilities,” Anderson said.

School Board Vice President Joan Ahlers congratulated district staff, pointing out that in spite of the insurance rate hikes and financial hit incurred from declined enrollment, they did a good job of controlling expenses.