IC Schools feeling budget crunch

School districts across the state are checking where they can make cuts after learning what state funding will look like.

Iowa City Community School District is considering teacher cuts and early retirement incentives.

Stephen Murley tells TV9 in his nine years as superintendent, only once did the state fully fund his district.

The state did increase funding for schools by one-percent, or about $67 more dollars for each enrolled student. But Murley said Iowa City needs at least a three percent to maintain current programming and staffing levels.

Murley said the last few years the district has trimmed where it can, outside of the classroom. Like changing bus routes or how staff orders district supplies and even paper for classrooms.

But those cuts don't add up to enough. And for each dollar the district spends, 84 cents goes to staffing. That's why those cuts are inevitable, but he'll look at an early retirement program first. That could save the district about three million dollars.

But if that doesn't reduce costs enough, then he'll have to start eliminating positions.

The district has been committed to providing more teachers and support at higher poverty schools. But with a tight budget, Murley says the district is considering rolling back some of those changes and increasing the student - teacher ratio.

Murley plans to travel to Des Moines at the start of session to try to persuade lawmakers for more state funding.

Now all changes to the district's budget do need school board approval. That vote isn't until April.

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