36° and Mostly cloudy at 12:02am in Pine City

Pine City Schools Await Final Budget Decisions

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 at 5:43 am

The Pine City School District is waiting on the release of the final state budget.  Delayed payments to the district have left not only Pine City, but many area schools, to decide whether or not to borrow.  Pine City does not have to, but Superintendent Dennis Fischer says the district is tightening its belt.

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Last year, the Legislature shifted the amount of funding that districts receive in the current year from 90 to 73-percent. Fischer says this put more stress on the district because it means less cash flow.  This year, with the state facing a multi-billion dollar deficit, payments were held from schools, including $1.5 million from Pine City.

Fischer says he is not sure when the district will receive the money, but adds that Pine City has done enough to avoid disaster.

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Part of the DFL proposal presented to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty Monday is a way to repay state schools the $1.7 billion in delayed payments to schools.

State Representative Tim Faust (DFL-Hinckley) anticipates the schools will receive the delayed funding.

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Fischer says there is still money coming to the district from both the county and federal levels.

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The tax levy payments from Pine County are expected to be around $2 million, says Fischer.  He adds that because of next year’s state budget forecast, the district is considering state aide anticipation certificates.  The district used certificates in the past as a means of short term borrowing, until state aide is received.

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Overall, Fischer says the district is in good shape, and credits the staff with keeping a close eye on the budget.

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