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Solving School Budgets

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It's that time of year -- school districts are looking at their budgets.

And that can mean big cuts.

Districts have been trying to figure out a way to stop losing money for years.

Now one district in the Q-C-a says what it's doing is working.

"Wapello has a problem with declining enrollment and so we are looking to have to make reductions every spring,"says school Superintendent Mike Peterson. 

For three years, Peterson has been at the helm of the Wapello School District.

And every year - budget time, is a tough one.

In just the last two years- Wapello has been forced to cut 2 elementary teachers, 2 classroom aides, and an administrator.

As well as convert several positions down to part time. 

All of this taking $300,000 out of the budget - trying to get closer to being in the black. 

But now - Peterson says things may be looking up.

"We are still going to have to look at making some further cuts because of declining enrollment," he explains. "But we're certainly not going to have to cut as deeply as some other districts throughout the state will have too, simply because we've made those gradual cuts, year by year."

Those cuts are paying off.

While Peterson doesn't know exactly what will be needed from the budget in the next academic year, he hopes to not have to cut any more positions next year.

But where should a district draw the line in the sand?

When can a district just not handle cutting any more teachers and still educate kids?

Peterson says those aren't easy questions to answer.

"We've eliminated the so called, "easy things," that you could cut. So now, when we look at budget reductions, you really are looking at services to kids... You do want to maintain the best education for the kids but you have to maintain your bottom line."