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Nov. 11 Board Highlights: District Plans to Reduce Expenses

The West Des Moines Community Schools plans to reduce approximately $3 million each year for the next two years based on preliminary budget estimates.

Early projections show that the district will be closing in on the state-mandated limit on how much it can spend to educate students and operate the district in 2014 and beyond.

In Iowa, the state not only provides money to schools to operate, it also tells school districts how much money they are allowed to spend. The concept is called “spending authority.” It is unique to Iowa in the area of school finance and helps ensure equity in public education spending across the state.

It is against the law for a school district to spend more money than it is allowed to by the state. In fact, a school district can be shut down if it over spends its authorized limit.

This is why nearly every school district in the state – including West Des Moines Community Schools – budgets to spend slightly less than it is allowed. Since 1989, we have had a Board policy that states we can spend no more than 92 percent what the state says we can spend.

However, early projections show that the district will far exceed this in the coming years if spending is not reduced.

This is due, in part, to increases in costs outpacing increases in revenue. We have had a significant reduction in revenue over the past few years with the elimination of federal grants to our district, limited growth in state funding and a recent decrease in enrollment by 48 students. The state provides funds based on enrollment, with each student generating approximately $6,300.

At its Nov. 11 meeting, the School Board reviewed the projections as well as the process the district will use to reduce costs, which will involve input from parents, teachers, principals support staff and more. More information on the budget will be provided in upcoming issues of the Informaline and is available at

Meeting agendas and full minutes are available on the district website: Follow informal board highlights on Twitter @WDMCS.

Budget and Finance

Budget Reduction Process – Tregoe


Topics: School Board News

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