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D-46 passes balanced budget

PRAIRIE GROVE – Despite an expanded Spanish language program and a trimester schedule, District 46’s budget looks much the same as it did last year.

The District 46 school board approved the budget, which has a $881,000 surplus in the education fund, at its meeting this week.

The budget includes some “slight adjustments,” Superintendent Lynette Zimmer said.

The district expects to bring in $10.99 million this fiscal year, and the budget allocates $10.12 million of that, increases of about $100,000 on each end.

The budget doesn’t include much in the way of capital improvement projects, but the district is in the middle of developing a five-year plan, Zimmer said.

The board had “a lot of momentum” before the April elections, but with several new faces, work on the plan had temporarily been put on hold.

District staff members have a meeting with the architect set for Monday, and they plan on putting together a presentation to give to the board in October to catch up new members.

The plan probably will be completed this year, Zimmer said, which would make the first year of the five-year plan fiscal 2014-15.

While discussions include items such as how much it would cost to install air conditioning in the elementary school, it also includes larger-scale questions such as how technology fits in and whether the district would move toward different types of learning spaces such as pods instead of traditional classrooms, Zimmer said.

The board also will grapple with how declining enrollment fits into the picture, she said. The district has 40 fewer students this year than the 915 it had last year.

This would be the district’s first facilities plan in a while, Zimmer said.

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