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St. Louis Schools Need $23 Million More in Cuts

Interim superintendent Bill Roberti (KWMU file photo)
Interim superintendent Bill Roberti (KWMU file photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – More cuts appear on the way for St. Louis Public Schools. The district says it's on pace to spend $16 million more this fiscal year than it will have collected; and there's another $7 million it must repay the desegregation fund.

"This $23 million that we've got to get out of here between now and the end of the year is going to be the toughest 23," said interim superintendent William Roberti.

"We still have a mandate to protect the classroom, that's what we want to do; we're going to do everything we can to do that. But it was our job in the year that we were here to give this board a balanced budget before we left, and we intend to do that."

The district's chief financial officer, Harry Rich, says expenses are down this fiscal year, but so is enrollment, which also pushes revenues down.

Rich says the district must take a two-step approach to fiscal management:

"The first phase is to balance the budget, the second phase is to build a cash reserve and get out of the negative fund balance that we have. That's a longer term project, but we've got to do the first one first, and that is balance the budget."

The school board will review proposed cuts in March.