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What is the outlook for funding from outside sources (local, state and federal) for your community, organization or institution? Are tight budgets elsewhere having a local impact?

District Voices

Published September 1, 2002  |  September 2002 issue

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Funding for kindergarten to the 12th grade in the public school system is funded by about 60 percent from state revenue sources, about 28 percent from local tax-paying sources and about 12 percent from federal sources. Right now Montana, like many states, has had a severe downturn in our economy, and therefore revenues to the state coffers have not been what's expected. As a result of that, the governor has called a special session of our Legislature ... to make basically $80 million worth of cuts. Schools are being asked to shoulder about a fourth of the cuts that are being proposed right now. And so overall our funding situation does not look very bright at the moment.

Oh yeah, tight budgets are having an impact, absolutely. We depend on tax revenues, and consequently when the economy turns down there is less revenue coming into the state coffers. Particularly what's hit the state hard is, as a result of the problems in the stock market, there's been a real drop-off in the revenues that [the state] receives from capital gains.
Joe Lamson, Communications Officer
Montana Office of Public Instruction
Helena, Mont.

With the approval of the new state budget, we feel that the programs offered by the Department of Commerce will continue to be there. With the budget we also feel that the shared revenue formula for the city and the county will remain in place. This will mean that two of our major stakeholders will continue to receive approximately the same amount of funding that they received from the state the previous years.

The state has a tight budget, and both the county and city are exploring ways in which to reduce their expenditures. One area of opportunity to which they are looking is for consolidation of some services.
Andy Lisak, Executive Director
The Development Association—Superior, Wis.

As far as outside sources, what we're worried about is federal highway dollars. We understand that there may be some cutbacks there, and that's still kind of up in the air. That's our major concern right now because we have some very major projects that we're looking at, and some of the business owners and the developers are looking at. If the funding is cut back, that really could move some of the projects back down the road, and from our standpoint that would be very disastrous.

We're sitting in a pretty good position in that West Fargo has seen tremendous growth. That growth has continued steady even through the national downturn in the economy. From that standpoint we're really in good shape.
Rich Mattern, Mayor
West Fargo, N.D.

e are concerned about the state budget deficit and potential impact on us in 2003. ... The budget deficit seems to be growing instead of going down and it's a big number.

We depend on state and federal funding for a large portion of our budget, and it always has had and will have an impact on our [local] budgets.
Jerry Books, Finance Director
Blue Earth County—Mankato, Minn.

Most of the outside funding that we work with on a regular basis here with Deadwood Economic Development Corp. comes through the federal government. We have worked with Rural Development, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, on loan funds and grant funds. Both of those require a matching source, which we have been able to do locally.
Chuck Turbiville, Executive Director
Deadwood Economic Development Corp.—Deadwood, S.D.

Currently, in Michigan we have a set Ford Foundation formula where we receive funding for students from the state government. So we don't depend on local property taxesincreases, decreases, they don't impact us. What isn't covered by local taxes is picked up in this foundation formula, and so we're guaranteed a certain amount. The hardest thing for us has been that the state government is dealing with a deficit budget. ... We're [likely] losing various categoricals ... like at-risk, specialized instruction. Those amounts are cut depending on how the budget goes. So things come down, things go uplike the stock market.

We're in an area that is struggling with business and industry, and so we don't have a solid growing economic base based on new jobs coming into the community. If we have to go to the voters [for more funding], we're going to people ... 65 years and older as a majority. So you're asking the oldest members of your community to be the bearers of the budgeting, and most of them have a fixed budget. That's a struggle for us to ask and for them to have to give that to us.
David A. Ruhman, Superintendent of Schools
Ontonagon Area School District—Ontonagon, Mich.

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