District 55 trustees approve budget

BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot School Board of Trustees approved the budget for 2011-2012 at their meeting Thursday night.
District 55 saw a $1.3 million cut from the general fund in 2010-2011 and $4.64 million since 2008-2009. The budget cuts proposed at the May meeting were factored into the budget and will be made.
"We have a large reduction, once again," Assistant Superintendent Chad Struhs said.
The district has reduced the budget $1.3 million due to retirements, attrition and program reductions. Cuts have also been made to extracurricular activities, summer building projects, vehicle maintenance and auditorium equipment and supplies.
Struhs said the majority of the revenue loss is due to depleted federal funds, such as funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Trustee Bryce Lloyd expressed concern over decreasing revenues and questioned what the board will have to cut next year.
"There's not much else we can do," Superintendent Scott Crane said.
In discussing the budget, Trustee Pete Lipovac asked if there was funding for instruction of native Shoshone and Bannock languages within the district and asked how long the board will discuss the issue before any action is taken.
Lloyd said he would not be opposed to the concept if support for language instruction were proven and the district had the funds to pay for an instructor.
"I like the concept, but at this point we have to think the same way we do when we run our own finances," Lloyd said. "I'm concerned about how we're going to finance it."
The board voted 4-1 to approve the budget without any changes. Lipovac cast the dissenting vote.
Also at the meeting, the trustees received a report on trustee zones' population analysis. The analysis, which is required by state law, found the zones to have a large population discrepancy since the 2000 Census. All zone boundaries will be redrawn to balance the population within the five zones.
The board made minor changes to Board Policy 1050 regarding Indian Policies and Procedures. Recognition was given to the Blackfoot High School boys tennis team for being 4A academic state champions and to Chairman J.D. Tolman for his service on the board. Tolman was defeated in the previous election by Jenny Hong, who will assume duties on the board at the July meeting.