Deficit-cutting outreach to start at Coronado
By Rioux Jordan

       A community meeting at Coronado High School Tuesday, Jan. 17 will be the first of several this winter by the District 11 Board of Education as it grapples with a projected $9 million budget deficit for the 2012-2013 school year. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Coronado is at 1590 W. Fillmore St.
       To cover the deficit, the district plans to withdraw money from a reserve fund and to cut at least $5 million. Over the past six years the district has cut more than $25 million. “We've cut all the obvious things, and now we're getting to the tough decisions,” said D-11 Chief Financial Officer Glenn Gustafson at the board's informal “community engagement meeting” Jan. 10 at Holmes Middle School.
       Gustafson went on to list potential areas for new budget cuts, such as reducing programming the district offers, combining more jobs, reducing school staff, increasing class sizes and adjusting the use of funds.
       Additionally, this year the district is planning on using zero-based budgeting, which means that each dollar must be justified, rather than using a baseline from the previous year.
       At the Coronado meeting, district officials will explain their plans for the budget and ask for public input on that subject. The board's community engagement meetings are monthly question-answer sessions, during which attendees can bring up any school-related issues.
       Spending increases this year are mainly triggered by increased costs for utilities, insurance and retirement funds, Gustafson said.