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Rockwood School District still dipping into reserve account

6:41 PM, May 3, 2012   |    comments
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By Sharon Stevens Education Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) - Officials in one of the area's largest school districts say they'll probably have to dig into their reserve account again to keep operating.

The Rockwood School District has been spending into its reserves for the last three years.

For school districts, a reserve fund is the same as a savings account; normally you don't use it unless you have too.

Rockwood has been dipping into its reserve account since 2009 and making cuts along the way to save money.

Chief Financial and Legislative Officer for Rockwood, Shirley Broz, expects reserve spending will continue for at least another three years.

With a reserve fund of near $40 million, Rockwood isn't broke. But each year district officials say they receive less state money and no new tax revenue so they're only spending from one account.

Teachers' union president and parent of two Rockwood grads, Suzanne Dotta, fears that without new revenue, the district won't be able to attract new teachers.

A new Rockwood budget is due July 1st and will likely include more reserve spending.

Rockwood officials say everything will be on the table including possible layoffs, transportation changes and a tax hike proposal.

Opponents of many Rockwood policies, a group called Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions said in a statement:
"...(We) recommend that the district take sufficient time to improve their financial practices with more open and transparent transactions, tighten their belts. Then and only then, would it be appropriate to consider asking again for a fair and reasonable tax levy."

KSDK

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