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Public asked for cost-reduction ideas

Silver Creek school officials say they are open to suggestions about ways to cut costs in the 2009-1010 budget.

At a public meeting Thursday night, Superintendent David O'Rourke asked for comments and ideas that may help reduce the district's costs. O'Rourke is bracing for state aid cuts in the next year.

Silver Creek receives the majority of its revenue from state aid. In the current year, district operations were funded by $11.7 million in state aid and $5.2 million raised by local taxes.

The tax levy approved by district voters has been fairly consistent in the last three years, and O'Rourke said he is aware that voters cannot afford to pay a large increase in their tax bills. Further, a property tax cap may impose a limit on what may be increased.

Staff positions may have to be cut to reduce budget costs.

O'Rourke said the district is seeing a decline in enrollment. He said that the junior class is about 107 students but that classes below that level are only at about 80 students.

The district has a kindergarten through 12th-grade enrollment of about 1,150 students, with about 50 additional children enrolled in prekindergarten.

Silver Creek has been looking at sharing some business office costs with four other districts. Costs for payroll, accounts payable and some other business office expenses may be shared through a Board of Cooperative Educational Services centralized office program. Fredonia, Westfield, Ripley and Brocton would participate in the program, expected to take off this year.

The district also is looking at some energy-saving programs such as better windows and possibly solar power.

O'Rourke said board members are expected to act on the budget draft Feb. 25.

Before the meeting, area residents are encouraged to call the school or visit the Web site at www.silvercreek.wynric.org to send comments or ideas about cost savings to school officials.

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